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Theo James in Talks for ‘Backstabbing for Beginners’

“Divergent” star Theo James is in early negotiations to join Ben Kingsley in the political thriller “Backstabbing for Beginners.”

Josh Hutcherson had been set to star with Kingsley in “Backstabbing” when it was unveiled in late October but is no longer attached.

Danish director Per Fly is helming the film, in which a young idealist lands his dream job as a program coordinator for the U.N.’s Oil for Food program and is thrown into an already fraught post-war Iraq where government agents and power-hungry nations are circling the country’s oil reserves. Kingsley will portray his boss, a seasoned diplomat.

Fly, who directed “Monica Z” starring Edda Magnason, co-wrote “Backstabbing” with Daniel Pyne (“The Manchurian Candidate”), inspired by Michael Soussan’s memoir, “Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course in International Diplomacy.”

The producers are Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy of Parts and Labor, Malene Blenkov and Nikolaj Vibe Michelsen of Creative Alliance, and Daniel Bekerman of Scythia Films. Patrick Ryborn from Eyeworks Scandi Fiction AB is co-producing.

Fortitude International is handling foreign rights and launched sales at the American Film Market. UTA Independent Film Group, which arranged the financing with the producers, is representing U.S. rights. Entertainment One has acquired Canadian rights.

James will be seen next opposite Shailene Woodley in “The Divergent Series: Allegiant,” opening in March, and opposite Kate Beckinsale in “Underworld: Next Generation,” opening in October. The British thesp is repped by WME.

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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