John Le Carre’s fiction has long been a prime vein of source material for filmmakers to tap, but he’s also a tricky writer to make work properly on screen. With the recent success of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, however, more directors are taking on the task, and now Snowtown’s Justin Kurzel is stepping up to tackle Our Kind Of Traitor.
The story dips once more into the murky world of defectors and danger, with a young couple persuaded to help a Russian criminal when he asks to defect to the West. Their journey takes them to London, Paris, Tangiers and Moscow.
Drive's Hossein Amini has written the screenplay, with backers The Ink Factory rounding up financing and starting the casting process. Assuming everything falls into place, the cameras should start to roll this autumn.
Kurzel, who made his filmmaking debut with the based-on-real-life story of torture and murder in Australia, is clearly enamoured of the script. "I instantly connected to the material," he tells Variety. "It's a contemporary, muscular thriller that felt really fresh, with subject matter and characters that were relevant and immediate to today. I'm interested in surrogate father-son relationships, which I also responded to in Snowtown, and saw similarities in the dynamic in Our Kind Of Traitor.”
Kurzel even has support from the writer himself: “It’s a different type of le Carre, it's more visceral than Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Le Carre has been excited by and encouraging about our interpretation and where we want to take it as a film.”