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Fiennes, Mikkelsen close in on Our Kind of Traitor

EXCLUSIVE: Schedules permitting, Ralph Fiennes and Mads Mikkelsen will join $35m-budgeted John Le Carre thriller due to shoot this summer; Smiley’s People being readied for 2014.

Ralph Fiennes and Mads Mikkelsen are both in “advanced negotiations” to join StudioCanal thriller Our Kind of Traitor, the company’s second John Le Carre adaptation after hit Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

For full production details

Ewan McGregor will star in the international spy thriller as one half of a couple who gets mixed up with a Russian oligarch and major money launderer (who would be played by Mikkelsen). Caught up in his plans to defect, they are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service.

Fiennes would play the story’s UK government fixer Hector Meredith. Casting on the female lead has yet to be determined.

Snowtown’s Justin Kurzel directs from a script adapted by Hossein Amini (Drive and Snow White and the Huntsman). Le Carre has met both during the project’s development.

StudioCanal will be selling the $35m project at the EFM, and will distribute in UK, France, Germany and Australia.

Producers are Simon and Stephen Cornwell for The Ink Factory and Andrea Calderwood and Gail Egan for Potboiler Productions. StudioCanal backs with Film4.

Scheduled for a summer start, the shoot will take in Moscow, Marrakech, Paris, London and Switzerland.

StudioCanal Chairman and CEO Olivier Courson told Screen: “This is the kind of film we love: elevated thrillers with mainstream appeal. The film offers another opportunity for us to make a Le Carre adaptation but with a more contemporary subject. Tinker Tailor was well received in a number of territories so we’re very excited.”

Producer Simon Cornwell, son of novelist Le Carre, told Screen: “This is a very contemporary story. Coming off Tinker Tailor and A Most Wanted Man this film also promises exciting scale and accessibility. It is about an everyman couple at its heart, audiences will get swept up in the story.”

On the subject of Smiley’s People, StudioCanal’s anticipated follow up to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Courson and Ron Halpern, evp international productions and acquisitions, confirmed to Screen: “We are working on Smiley’s People with Working Title. It’s still at the development stage - but, yes, the old team of Peter Straughan and Tomas Alfredson is back together. The same Tinker Tailor actors whose characters would reappear are well aware of what we’re doing. We’re hopeful for a 2014 shoot”.

Fiennes, currently shooting on Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel in Germany, is due to star in Russian drama The Two Women, an update of Ivan Turgenev’s 19th century play A Month in the Country, in late summer.

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