Last week we told you about Johnny Depp’s production company and Warner Bros optioning the rights to an upcoming book about mortally irradiated Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. Now Columbia Pictures and Michael Mann are getting in the act – they’re optioning a book called Death of a Dissident, which is being written by Alex Goldfarb and Litvinenko’s widow, Marina.
It’s like the arms race all over again! Who will be the first to get their glow in the dark spy movie made? Warner Bros tried to match Columbia’s bid on Death of a Dissident, but no such luck – Columbia still walked away with the rights and they’re fast tracking the picture. Michael Mann reminded Variety that the last time he met up with a competing production – Christopher Nolan and Jim Carrey were attached to a Howard Hughes movie – he smashed the other side and ended up producing the Oscar-nominated The Aviator with Martin Scorsese at the helm.
It seems unlikely that both projects will actually get to the movie stage, but if they did, which would be better? Mann’s would have the insider information of Litvinenko’s wife, while Depp’s would have the solid reporting of the New York Times’ London bureau chief behind it. So that’s a draw. But it turns out that Johnny Depp is much, much, much better looking than Michael Mann, so his project wins out.