Two-time Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender is set to produce and star in Lionsgate’s action-packed spy movie Malko, based on Gerard de Villiers’ bestselling S.A.S. book series, which has sold more than 120 million copies worldwide.
Lionsgate has acquired worldwide feature rights to the spy franchise and tapped Oscar-nominated scribe Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) to write the script, which will largely be based on de Villier’s book Checkpoint Charlie.
The S.A.S. franchise follows Malko Linge, an Austrian nobleman and freelance CIA operative who spent his formative years in a special Nazi work camp for captured spies, where he learned the intricate dark arts of tradecraft from the best. Now an adult living in a reclaimed family manor fallen into disrepair, Malko becomes a spy for hire. He is the ultimate agent without an agency — a gentleman warrior without a country who works according to his own moral code, and lives the only way a man who has grown up in the face of death can — with a wicked wit and a lust for all things in life, even the things that might kill him.
In addition to playing Malko, Fassbender will produce via his company DMC Film. Joining him will be Black Magic’s Lars Sylvest, Kingsgate Films’ Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker), and Rocket Science’s Thorsten Schumacher, who developed the property with Sylvest and de Villiers. Singer will executive produce along with Jason Clark and DMC’s Conor McCaughan. Lionsgate executives James Myers and Brady Fujikawa will oversee the project for the studio.
“We are enormously excited to be teaming with Greg Shapiro and Michael Fassbender as well as Lars Sylvest from Black Magic and Thorsten Schumacher from Rocket Science to develop Malko,” said Lionsgate boss Joe Drake. “This is a character with a tremendous 200-title library of amazing spy stories to draw from, and we believe we have a world-class creative team in place with Michael and Eric Warren Singer as we move forward on this project.”
Fassbender earned Oscar nominations for his fairly terrifying turns in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs and Steve McQueen’s Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave. Notably, the last time Fassbender played a famous literary character was in The Snowman, which is better known these days as an online meme than as a successful detective movie. That’s how poorly that production went, though Fassbender had little control over the behind-the-scenes drama on that project.
Between that film and Assassin’s Creed, Fassbender has suffered through a bit of a rough patch of late, but he’s still a formidable actor, and Malko should satisfy audiences who were holding out hope that he might be cast as James Bond one day. Fassbender can currently be seen playing Magneto for the final time in the lackluster X-Men finale Dark Phoenix, and he’ll spend his summer shooting David Sandberg’s action-comedy Kung Fury — another odd choice, if you ask me. He’s represented by Troika and CAA, whose media finance division brokered the deal.