In a move that puts Angelina Jolie starrer “The Tourist” on track for a February production start, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has emerged as the top choice to direct the Spyglass thriller.
While von Donnersmarck hasn’t formally entered into negotiations yet, studios are expected to begin jockeying for the film that is likely to be ready for a 2011 release.
Jolie is poised to make “Tourist” her next project over several other offers, including Universal’s sequel to “Wanted.” Spyglass came to her weeks ago, but her participation was contingent on finding the right director. After meetings with several helmers, von Donnersmarck was deemed that guy on Friday night, insiders said.
If a deal comes to fruition, “The Tourist” would be the first for von Donnersmarck since the German helmer’s 2006 breakout “The Lives of Others,” which won the Academy Award for foreign-language film.
Jolie, who most recently wrapped the Phillip Noyce-helmed “Salt” for Columbia Pictures, will play a female Interpol agent who draws an unwitting American tourist into her attempt to locate a criminal who was once her lover. Worthington, the Australian thesp who next appears as the star of the James Cameron-directed “Avatar,” will play the American tourist.
Spyglass is producing in partnership with StudioCanal, with Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Jonathan Glickman producing.
“The Tourist” is a remake of the 2005 French thriller “Anthony Zimmer,” which was most recently developed for Tom Cruise to topline with Charlize Theron for director Bharat Nalluri. Julian Fellowes penned a script that was rewritten by “Valkyrie” scribe Christopher McQuarrie.
After Cruise instead chose to team with Cameron Diaz in the James Mangold-directed Fox film “Knight and Day,” Worthington came aboard to replace Cruise in the title role. The project languished, however, until Spyglass drew interest from Jolie.
Jolie is repped by Media Talent Group, von Donnersmarck by UTA.