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Jolie plays spy game for Paramount

Studio acquires rights to intelligence thriller

Paramount Pictures has acquired life rights to intelligence operative Kathi Lynn Austin, whose adventures in arms trafficking and terrorism will inspire an action thriller vehicle for Angelina Jolie.

Austin, who has most recently worked on contract for the U.N. Security Council, has undertaken field missions in Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and Central America. The drama will focus on a fictional arms dealer inspired by Victor Bout, the shadowy Russian who is considered one of the world’s most prolific dealers in illegal munitions.

Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski will produce.

Catalyst for the package was Kosinski, who manages Jolie and has looked long and hard for a premise that’s rooted in reality and has franchise potential.

Meanwhile, Austin signed with IPG’s Joel Gotler to tell her story. After Austin and Gotler met with Kosinski, they developed a pitch that was similar in spirit to “The Bourne Identity.” Paramount production president Brad Weston bought it immediately.

Studio and Kosinski have put together a shortlist of scribes and aim to set one as soon as the writers strike ends.

Jolie is currently shooting “The Changeling,” the Clint Eastwood-directed drama for Universal, Imagine and Malpaso.

Gotler will shop a deal for Austin to write her memoirs early next year.

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