{Exclusive} “Blue Ruin” Director Jeremy Saulnier To Helm Spy Thriller “Defection” For 20th Century Fox

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Jeremy Saulnier

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〉 Saulnier is set to direct the Hit List script, which was adapted from ’s The Defection of A.J. Lewinter.

Jeremy Saulnier will take his directing talent for creating nerve-racking thrills and apply them to the spy world in 20th Century Fox’s DEFECTION. Saulnier will be working from a script by , which was featured on both the 2014 Hit List and Black ListDefection marks Saulnier’s first major studio film. 

Cut from the same cloth as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but set in an Edward Snowden era, Defection tells the story of Leo Diamond, a broken down CIA case officer who uses his calculated Cold War training to go after a mid-level CIA intelligence contractor who has defected to North Korea and has taken a mysterious suitcase with him. Nolan based his script on Robert Littnell‘s 1973 book, The Defection of A.J. Lewinter.

LITDEFE01Thus-2 of Entertainment is set to produce the project, with Dan Wilson serving as executive producer. Matt Reilly will oversee for Fox.

Defection continues Hollywood’s espionage obsession, but with Saulnier’s unique vision, there’s little doubt the indie-darling director will take this story in a different direction. Based on the success and acclaim of Bridge of Spies, FX’s The Americans as well as more popcorn-friendly spy fodder like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the James Bond films, there’s a place for Defection to switch up the game and give audiences a new take on the regular spy movie. For the antagonist to defect to North Korea, a country that is increasingly unnerving in the public consciousness, adds another layer of intrigue – especially given the fallout from the last film that attempt to center its story around the country, the ill-fated The Interview. 

Saulnier has worked as a cinematographer for many films and made his directorial debut in 2007 with the horror, Murder Party, which he also wrote. His crime thriller follow up, Blue Ruin, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013 and was met with wide critical acclaim, earning him a nomination for the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards. He continued his affection for the genre in 2015’s skinhead/punk rock thriller Green Room starring Patrick Stewart.

He is repped by and .

—TO SEE ALL THE PROJECT DETAILS CLICK HERE—

 | Staff Writer
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