James Gray to Direct Terrorism Thriller 'I Am Pilgrim' for MGM

James Gray - 2018 USC Libraries 30th Annual Scripter Awards - Getty - H 2018
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

The 'Lost City of Z' director will bring the Terry Hayes espionage novel franchise to the big screen.

James Gray is set to direct the terrorism thriller I Am Pilgrim, an adaptation of Terry Hayes' spy novel franchise, for MGM, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Gray replaces Kingsman: The Secret Service helmer Matthew Vaughn, who was earlier attached to the project to keep MGM in the spy game after its success with the James Bond franchise.

Screenwriter/director Gray is also known for movies like Little Odessa and The Yards. Among his other upcoming projects is New Regency's Ad Astra, a sci-fi epic starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland. 

Based on 2014's mammoth best-seller, the story for I Am Pilgrim follows "Pilgrim,” the 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. In addition to landing on U.S. best-seller lists including that of 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.

Lloyd Braun is producing, MGM's Andrew Mittman will serve as executive producer, and the film is being overseen by Adam Rosenberg, executive vp production, for MGM.