He'll helm pic about poisoning of former KGB agent in London
Brit helmer Mike Newell is attached to write and direct an untitled feature about the mysterious death of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko.Project is set at Warner Bros and is being overseen by London-based Warner VP of production Ollie Madden. Newell, who most recently directed “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” for Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, is developing the pic with scriptwriter David Scarpa. No talent is attached yet to the project, which is said to be in an advanced stage of development. Project is based on the book “The Terminal Spy” by New York Times’ London bureau chief Alan Cowell. The film rights deal for the book was Madden’s firstacquisition when he joined Warner Bros. in January 2007. Litvinenko’s death remains shrouded in intrigue. The ex-Russian spy, who was poisoned in 2006 by polonium-210, personally accused then-Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind his murder as he lay dying in a London hospital bed. Story became one of the most mysterious and perplexing crimes of the post-Cold War era, triggering an international investigation and diplomatic tension between British and Russian officials. Initially, authorities thought Litvinenko was poisoned at a sushi restaurant, but alternative theories have since emerged. Cowell’s book, published by Doubleday in the U.S., has been translated into numerous languages. Helmer Michael Mann was also developing a rival Litvinenko project with Litvinenko’s wife Maria at Sony, though that appears to have stalled in recent months.