Director Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) is reported circling the director’s chair for Child 44, an adaptation of the Tom Rob Smith novel. The first book in a trilogy (followed by The Secret Speech and Agent 6) was adapted by the Oscar-nominated Richard Price (The Color of Money). Child 44 centers on Leo Demidov, a security officer in Stalin’s Soviet Union who finds himself demoted and exiled while investigating a string of murders. It’s a taut, gripping tale with an unexpected climax that should be perfectly suited for the big screen. Hit the jump for more on Child 44.
As Deadline reports, Espinosa is in talks to direct Child 44, although the picture is not officially greenlit. If things progress quickly, Summit/Lionsgate is looking to get the film into production early next year.
Smith’s central antagonist is based on Andrei Chikatilo, a Ukranian serial killer known as the Rostov Ripper. His murderous spree was enabled by the Soviet Union’s institutional policy that denied the existence of crime under the oppressive state system. Chikatilo was eventually executed for 52 murders.
Check out the book description for Smith’s Child 44 below (via Amazon):
In a country ruled by fear, no one is innocent.
Stalin’s Soviet Union is an official paradise, where citizens live free from crime and fear only one thing: the all-powerful state. Defending this system is idealistic security officer Leo Demidov, a war hero who believes in the iron fist of the law. But when a murderer starts to kill at will and Leo dares to investigate, the State’s obedient servant finds himself demoted and exiled. Now, with only his wife at his side, Leo must fight to uncover shocking truths about a killer-and a country where “crime” doesn’t exist.