‘Mata Hari’ script lures U’s Bickford

Pic focuses on life story of notorious spy and man who caught her

Universal Pictures-based producer Laura Bickford has acquired Tatiana Blackington’s “Mata Hari,” an original script on the life of the notorious spy and courtesan, to develop at U.

U purchased the script for low-against mid-six figures. Scribe, repped by Michael Lewis & Associates, has also written an as-yet-unproduced French Revolution drama, “The Winter Dance,” for Jean-Jacques Beineix as well as an HBO feature based on Einstein’s love letters to Soviet spy Margarita Konenkova.

A protean figure in turn-of-the-century Europe, Mata Hari passed herself off as an exotic dancer, circulating among royalty before joining the German secret service in WWI. She was ultimately convicted by the French and executed by firing squad in 1917. Pic will focus on her life story and the man who stalked and eventually caught her, as well as on lingering questions as to whether she was a double agent.

Hollywood has rarely grappled with the Mata Hari story. Greta Garbo played her in an eponymous 1931 MGM biopic, but since then, she’s seldom appeared onscreen — notwithstanding the 1967 James Bond spoof “Casino Royale,” in which 007’s illegitimate daughter is Mata Hari’s daughter, Mata Bond.

Bickford, who produced “Traffic,” among other pics, has several projects set up around town, including “The King Incorporated,” a project being adapted and directed by Chris Gerolmo, which Bickford will produce with Steven Soderbergh, and “Bounty,” a feature based on a graphic novel about a Mafia man abducted by a rival crime family.

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