In the hunt for a new spy series, Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to Daniel Silva’s books about Gabriel Allon, a former Israeli intelligence operative turned art restorer, and Jeff Zucker, who stepped down as NBC Uni CEO in January, has come on board to produce.
Allon has appeared in ten of Silva’s books, beginning with 2001’s The Kill Artist and continuing through the recent The Rembrandt Affair. The latest installment, Portrait of a Spy, will be published by Harper in July.
Universal has picked up rights to all past and future books in the series, which have an estimated 25 million books in print.
Because of an existing friendship with Silva, Zucker agreed to serve as producer, although sources familiar with the project said that the former NBC Uni head, who has yet to announce his further plans, is not looking at a full-time career as a film producer. Silva will be involved as exec producer on the film adaptation.
Peter Cramer, senior executiv vp, production, and Jay Polidoro, creative exec, are overseeing the project for the studio.
Silva was repped by attorney Michael Gendler of Gendler & Kelly.