Armie Hammer, Mads Mikkelsen to Star in Amma Asante’s Cold War Thriller ‘Billion Dollar Spy’

Armie Hammer WME
Maarten de Boer for Variety

Armie Hammer (“Rebecca”) and Mads Mikkelsen (“Another Round”) will headline the cast of Amma Asante’s Cold War thriller “The Billion Dollar Spy.”

HanWay Films has come on board to handle international sales and distribution, and will start sales at the upcoming American Film Market. CAA Media Finance and Endeavor Content will oversee the U.S. sale.

“The Billion Dollar Spy” was developed and produced by Walden Media and is produced by Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind”) and Greg Lessans via Weed Road Pictures.

Brad Reid (Hammer) is a fresh arrival at the Moscow station of the CIA when he’s approached by Soviet engineer Adolf Tolkachev (Mikkelsen). Ignoring the advice from his bosses that Tolkachev is an obvious KGB “dangle,” Reid develops a bond and unique friendship with the Russian. Reid’s faith in Tolkachev is rewarded when he hands over a treasure trove of military secrets, obtained using classic Cold War spy craft. It earns Tolkachev the nickname “The Billion Dollar Spy,” and alters the balance of power between East and West.

The Cold War true story was researched and written by Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist David E. Hoffman, drawing on previously classified CIA documents and interviews with first-hand participants. It has been adapted for the screen by Benjamin August (“Class Rank”).

Walden Media’s president and CEO Frank Smith and executive vice president of development and production Naia Cucukov will executive produce. The film will go into production next year in Eastern Europe.

HanWay Films managing director Gabrielle Stewart said: “August has brilliantly mined Hoffman’s detailed account of the ‘Billion Dollar Spy’ and delivered a screenplay that will thrill all the fans of analog spycraft. At the same time we are going to inhabit the contrasting personal lives of our two spies: the personal challenges and the impact their world changing activities have on their marriages, their families and their own psyches. Asante’s imprint is right here, and along with her very talented actors, she has the opportunity to give us a completely fresh and multi-layered perspective on the Cold War thriller.”