Matthew Vaughn to Direct Terrorism Thriller 'I Am Pilgrim' for MGM (Exclusive)

The 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' helmer also will produce and co-finance through his MARV Films.
Matthew Vaughn  Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Kingsman: The Secret Service helmer Matthew Vaughn is staying in the spy game.

Vaughn has signed on to direct and produce MGM’s big-screen adaptation of Terry Hayes’ espionage thriller I Am Pilgrim. The X-Men: First Class helmer also will co-finance through his MARV Films.

Based on 2014's mammoth best-seller, the story follows “Pilgrim,” code name for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for U.S. intelligence. Now in anonymous retirement, he is called upon to lend his expertise to an unusual investigation but ultimately becomes caught in a terrifying race against time to save America from a cunning terrorist. Hayes, an accomplished screenwriter whose credits include Payback, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Dead Calm, adapted the novel — his first — which MGM envisions as a franchise. (Hayes is already at work on a follow-up novel with the same protagonist).

Lloyd Braun also is producing through his Whalerock Industries, with Andrew Mittman serving as executive producer. Production is scheduled to begin in 2016.

In addition to landing on U.S. best-seller lists including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, I Am Pilgrim has been translated into more than 30 languages and was a massive best-seller in Vaughn's native U.K., where it was the best-selling debut of 2014 and has sold more than 750,000 copies, as well as Holland, France, Spain, Japan and Scandinavia.

“We could not be more excited to have a consummate filmmaker like Matthew to bring I Am Pilgrim to the screen,” said MGM motion picture group president Jonathan Glickman. “His sensibility, coupled with Terry Hayes’ incredible story, gives us the ideal team to bring this character to the worldwide audience.”

Glickman and MGM vp production Matt Dines will oversee for the studio.

Vaughn's spy action film Kingsman became a sleeper hit this year for Fox, earning $412 million worldwide after its Feb. 12 release. MARV Films produced and co-financed Kingsman: The Secret Service and has a sequel in the works with Vaughn on board to write and direct next year. It is unclear at this point whether Vaughn will direct I Am Pilgrim before Kingsman 2 or after.

MARV also produced and co-financed Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, the Helen Mirren-starrer The Debt and the upcoming Eddie the Eagle, starring Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton.

Vaughn is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment, Ziffren Brittenham LLP and Independent Talent Group in the U.K.

Next on tap for MGM is Spectre, the 24th James Bond adventure, which will be released in the U.K. on Oct. 26 and in the U.S. on Nov. 6, followed by Creed, a new chapter in the Rocky story, on Nov. 25. The studio has several films queued up for 2016, including How to Be Single on Feb. 12, Ben-Hur on Feb. 26, Barbershop 3 on April 15 and Me Before You on June 3. MGM is also currently in production on The Magnificent Seven, which is set for release on Sept. 23.

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