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Zhang Yimou in Talks to Direct Robert Ludlum Adaptation for Universal

Imagine and Captivate are producing the adaptation.

Zhang Yimou
Nyay Bhushan
Zhang Yimou

Acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou may be making his first studio movie.

The filmmaker, known not only for dramas such as Raise the Red Lantern but for martial epics such as Hero and House of Flying Daggers, is in negotiations to direct The Parsifal Mosaic, Universal's adaptation of the 1982 Robert Ludlum novel.

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are producing with Captivate Entertainment, which reps the Ludlum estate. Imagine's Erica Huggins will serve as executive producer while Universal's co-president of production Peter Cramer and director of development Jay Polidoro are overseeing the project for the studio.

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David Self wrote the adaptation, which tells of a U.S. intelligence agent who witnesses the assassination of his lover, a KGB double agent. When he later sees her alive in Rome, it begins a quest that leads him to unravel a conspiracy with a mole named Parsifal as the tessera at its center.

The next step will be to find a writer to work with Zhang on a new draft.

Zhang last directed The Flowers of War, a war drama that was both in English and Chinese and starred Christian Bale set against the backdrop of 1937's rape of Nanking.

He is repped by CAA.