EXCLUSIVE: Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Movie Film), two-times Cesar Award nominee Jean Reno (Leon), Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World) and Connie Nielsen (Gladiator) are attached to star in action movie Birdseye, which The Exchange will be launching for international sales ahead of the Cannes market.
Inspired by the book Sexpionage: The Exploitation of Sex by Soviet Intelligence, the story will follow an impoverished young Russian woman drawn into Vladimir Putin’s crusade to re-fight the Cold War. She thrives as a high-level ‘swallow’ spy in Washington until her childhood love, now a merciless ‘raven’ assassin, is sent by Mother Russia to kill her. CAA Media Finance is repping domestic rights.
Pic is being produced by Aloe Entertainment’s founder Mary Aloe (Bruised), Gillian Hormel (Bruised), and Michael Jefferson (Land Of Bad). Executive producers are Jonathan Halperyn, Danny Kresmery, Hannah Leader, Tiffany FitzHenry and Sharon Paul. Screenplay comes from Aloe and T.M. Hayes (Armistice). The team is currently in negotiations with a director.
The project is an Aloe Entertainment production, a Ludascripts Production, and a Volition Media Partners production, in association with Hero Squared (Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris) and Echobend Pictures (Morning). Media Guarantors is bonding.
“I’ve always had this passionate dream about characters from my region of the world, a badass woman, independent, deeply talented, and Nina is this girl. I’m extremely excited about playing her. I can’t wait to dive into this,” said Bakalova who recently voiced the character Cosmo in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 and is in post on Jerry Seinfeld comedy Unfrosted for Netflix. As we revealed, the Bulgarian native is also attached with Sebastian Stan to Paul Feig’s untitled comedy at Paramount.
“Birdseye is a Russian-American elevated, action-spy thriller with all the goods and an acclaimed ensemble cast led by Maria Bakalova. It will be a very commercial feature for a universal audience looking for a theatrical experience. It’s going to be hot!” said Nat McCormick of The Exchange.
Aloe Entertainment’s credits include Halle Berry’s Bruised and Michael Keaton – Stanley Tucci starrer Worth. The Exchange’s Cannes ’23 lineup includes Joseph Gordon Levitt, Lucy Liu, and Octavia Spencer feature Nobody Nowhere Nothing, and Orlando Bloom pic The Cut.
Maria Bakalova is repped by CAA, Brookside Artist Management, and Insight Management & Production. Jean Reno is repped at CAA, Gateway Management Company, and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler, Feldman & Clark. Connie Nielsen is repped by UTA, The Lasher Group, The Artists Partnership, and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler, Feldman & Clark. Ty Simpkins is repped by CAA, Canopy Media Partners and Jackoway, Austen, Tyerman, Wertheimer, Mandelbaum, Morris, Bernstein, Trattner & Klein.