Spy Thriller

Gere, Grace Team Up

 

Gere, Grace Team Up For Spy Thriller

Michael Brandt will make his directorial debut with “The Double,” working from a script he co-wrote with Derek Haas

Richard Gere and Topher Grace will star in “The Double,” a spy thriller that marks the directorial debut of Michael Brandt, one half of the screenwriting team behind “Wanted” and “3:10 to Yuma.”

The story, written by Brandt and writing partner Derek Haas, follows a retired CIA operative (Gere) who partners with a young FBI agent (Grace) to hunt down the former’s nemesis — a Soviet assassin, code-named ‘Cassius,’ who was long thought to be dead yet appears to be responsible for the recent murder of a U.S. senator.

Brandt hopes to continue the tradition of past character-driven (as opposed to action-heavy) spy films such as “The Conversation,” “Three Days of the Condor” and “No Way Out.”

Hyde Park Entertainment and Imagenation Abu Dhabi are partnering on the film as part of their $250 million financing deal to make up to 20 films over seven years.

Hyde Park chairman Ashok Amritraj and exec VP of production Patrick Aiello will produce with Haas and Industry Entertainment’s Andrew Deane. Imagenation chairman Mohamed Khalaf Al-Mazrouei and CEO Edward Borgerding will exec produce, while COO Stefan Brunner will serve as associate producer. Production on “The Double” will begin in June in Detroit.

Coming off his recent turn in Garry Marshall’s ensemble rom-com “Valentine’s Day,” Grace’s film career finally seems to be heating up after a prolonged absence from the bigscreen after “Spider-Man 3.” I grew up a huge fan of Grace and his Fox sitcom “That ’70s Show,” and have long waited for Grace to catch the same career breaks that his former co-stars Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have enjoyed.

The problem seems to be that Grace isn’t easily definable as an actor — he doesn’t fit into a neat little box. At one point, he was pegged as the next Tom Hanks, starring in enjoyable but ultimately forgettable films like “In Good Company” and “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton.” Now it appears that Grace is prepared to tackle edgier material (seriously, check out that scruff to the right). In addition to this summer’s highly anticipated genre reboot “Predators,” his role as an FBI agent in “The Double” sounds like a nice change of pace for the 31 year-old actor. Following “Predators,” Grace will star opposite Anna Faris in “Young Americans,” which is in the can awaiting a 2011 release.

Gere is attached to star in “The Emperor’s Children,” an indie dramedy that will hopefully find financing soon. He’s also set to reunite with his “Pretty Woman” and “Runaway Bride” director Garry Marshall for the romantic comedy “State of the Union,” and will provide the lead voice for the animated baseball-themed movie “Henry and Me,” which features the voices of New York Yankee legends Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez.

Both actors and writers are represented by WME, while Haas runs the immensely entertaining short fiction website Popcorn Fiction.