LONDON — Jonathan Rhys Meyers is to star in espionage thriller “Damascus Cover,” which starts production this week in Morocco. Carnaby Intl. launches worldwide sales in Berlin.

Pic’s cast also features Olivia Thirlby, John Hurt, Igal Naor, Jurgen Prochnow and Navid Negahban.

Film is based on Howard Kaplan’s best-selling 1977 novel. Set in 1989, the plot focuses on a veteran spy sent undercover in Syria to smuggle a chemical weapons scientist and his family out of Damascus. Within days of his arrival he realizes he’s being followed. His partner doesn’t show, his local contact disappears, and a group of men are trying to kill him. It’s not long before his routine mission unravels to reveal a string of murderous conspirators. The events and people in the script are based on true-life events.

The film is directed by Daniel Berk and produced by Hannah Leader for Big Book Media. The screenplay is written by Samantha Newton and Daniel Berk.