After he delivered the mesmerizing and deliberately paced assassin character piece The American, that was so criminally under-rated with critics and unjustly overlooked at the awards ceremonies in 2010, Anton Corbijn is back and setting up his next film.
FilmNation Entertainment have announced that Corbjin will next helm an adaptation of spy master John Le Carre’s thriller A Most Wanted Man, and he has pulled off a huge coup by securing Phillip Seymour Hoffman for a supporting role, before the lead is even cast. Hoffman has entered final talks for the picture.
The novel follows a half-Chechen, half-Russian illegal immigrant in Hamburg who weaves a complex web of mystery that involves a young British banker and a female lawyer. Hoffman, as he usually likes to do, has nabbed the villainous sounding role (though I haven’t read the novel so I can’t be certain) – playing Bachmann, the head of a German secret spy organisation that overlooks the events.
Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness) has adapted the screenplay which unlike Le Carre’s recent novel turned mega hit Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, will be set in the modern day.
The question now turns to who will take the leading role? A big clue might be something The Playlist have remembered. Just over a year ago director Corbijn revealed he was then prepping a German-set thriller with Herbert Grönemeyer in the leading role, an actor rarely seen in anything notable since Wolfgang Petersen’s 1985 mini-series Das Boot. He has in the decades since focused mainly on his music career, releasing almost two dozen albums and he has scored both The American and Corbijn’s debut Control.
We imagine he is still in mind for this…
Filming is set to begin in September and I wonder if his approach to casting will be the opposite to The American on this one where back then he cast mostly unknowns to US audiences in supporting roles around superstar George Clooney, but this time big names like Hoffman will probably surround an almost total unknown in Grönemeyer.
I love Corbijn’s movies, his style and approach to telling stories and his completely uncompromising approach to narrative and casting. Really, really intrigued by this one and we will keep you posted on developments.
Press release further details the plot below;
A Most Wanted Man takes place in present day Hamburg, Germany where a mysterious, tortured and near-dead half-Chechen, half-Russian man on the run arrives in the city’s Islamic community desperate for help and looking to recover his late Russian father’s ill-gotten fortune. Nothing about this young man seems to add up; is he a victim or a thief or, worse still, an extremist intent on destruction? Drawn into this web of intrigue is a private British banker and a young female lawyer determined to defend the defenseless. All the while, they are being watched by the brilliant, roguish chief of a covert German spy unit (Hoffman), who fights to put the pieces together as the clock ticks.
Producer Gail Egan said, “We are completely thrilled at the prospect of Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Bachmann in Andrew Bovell’s brilliant adaptation of this very modern thriller by John le Carré. We will start shooting in Hamburg in September and are delighted to be working with Anton Corbijn on this film. His unique vision for le Carré’s complex and stylish story is very contemporary, very real, very human.”