Warner sets spy team

Scott to helm Monahan-adapted 'Penetration'

Warner Bros. has set William Monahan to adapt David Ignatius’ Middle East espionage novel “Penetration,” with Ridley Scott to direct. De Line Pictures is producing with Scott Free.

While Monahan most recently drafted the Hong Kong hit “Infernal Affairs” into Martin Scorsese-directed drama “The Departed,” he got his start as a screenwriter by scripting the Middle East-set pics “Tripoli” and “Kingdom of Heaven”‘ for Scott.

With “Penetration,” they reteam on a thriller that sends a CIA operative to Jordan to track a high-ranking terrorist. The spy is aided by the head of Jordan’s covert operations in an uneasy alliance that leads to cultural and moral clashes between the men. WB exec veep Lynn Harris will shepherd the drama along with Scott Free’s Michael Costigan.

Producer Donald De Line also is teamed with Scott on “The Invisible World,” a Paramount drama about the abduction of a female journalist in Iraq. It’s a possible next film for Scott after he directs the Steve Zaillian-scripted “American Gangster” at Universal, with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe starring.

Scripted by Dana Stevens, “The Invisible World” is based on a treatment by Ignatius, now an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post.

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