Noomi Rapace will star as Mossad’s most famous female agent in “Sylvia,” an action movie from Vicky Jewson, who developed the project with WestEnd Films under the company’s female-skewed WeLove banner. London-based WestEnd will handle sales and will be talking to buyers at Cannes.
The project reunites “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” star Rapace, Jewson and WestEnd after their successful collaboration on action picture “Close.” Netflix took global rights to that picture and launched it in January.
In “Sylvia,” Rapace will play Sylvia Rafael, a South African-born agent who rose to prominence in Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. She was noted for her intelligence work in locating Ali Hassan Salameh, the leader of Palestine’s Black September organization and the figure behind the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. But the mission led to her involvement in the infamous Lillehammer affair, in which an innocent Moroccan waiter was mistakenly identified as Salameh and killed by Rafael’s team. Rafael was tried in Norway and imprisoned. She died in South Africa in 2005.
The “Sylvia” script is being penned by Jewson alongside her “Close” writing partner, Rupert Whitaker. It is inspired by the book “Sylvia Rafael: The Life and Death of a Mossad Spy,” which was written by Ram Oren and Moti Kfir, a former Mossad agent who trained Rafael.
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“What is so enticing about this project is the opportunity to tell the true story of an extraordinary woman, who sacrificed a huge part of her life for a country that was not originally her own,” Jewson said. “I am keen to explore the unique personality of someone who put their life at risk on a daily basis and lived under a permanent dual identity, searching beyond the often glamorously perceived title of ‘spy’ to the gritty reality of this life and what drove her.”
Speaking about her blossoming partnership with Rapace, she added that “’Sylvia’ is exactly the sort of character-driven story we want to bring to the screen.”
Sharon Harel, Eitan Evan and Whitaker are producing the movie alongside Rapace, Jewson and Moshe Edery.