Mads Mikkelsen, Armie Hammer Join Amma Asante's Cold War Thriller 'Billion Dollar Spy'

2018 - Armie Hammer
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Armie Hammer

HanWay Films is handling sales of the AFM-bound film, which is based on the true story of how one Soviet engineer and his CIA handler helped bring an end to the Cold War.

Mads Mikkelsen and Armie Hammer are teaming up as a Soviet engineer and his CIA handler for Cold War thriller The Billion Dollar Spy for Belle and A United Kingdom director Amma Asante.

HanWay Films has come on board to handle international sales and distribution and will introduce the project at the upcoming virtual American Film Market. CAA Media Finance and Endeavor Content will oversee the U.S sale.

Based on a real-life story, The Billion Dollar Spy will follow Brad Reid (Hammer), a fresh arrival at the Moscow station of the CIA, where he’s approached by Soviet engineer Adolf Tolkachev (Mikkelsen). Ignoring the advice from his bosses that Tolkachev is an obvious KGB 'dangle', Reid develops a bond and unique friendship with the Russian, who seemingly only wants to help his family escape the corruption within the Soviet Union.

Reid’s faith in Tolkachev is rewarded when he hands over a treasure trove of military secrets, obtained using classic Cold War spy craft. It earns Tolkachev the nickname 'The Billion Dollar Spy' and alters the balance of power between East and West. But their success in evading the KGB comes at great personal cost to both men, and their marriages to wives Tina and Natasha, all struggling with the daily paranoia of being caught. Then one day a shocking betrayal puts them all in grave danger.

The classic Cold War true story was researched in great detail and written by Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist David E. Hoffman, drawing on previously classified CIA documents and interviews with first-hand participants. It has been adapted for the screen by Benjamin August (Class Rank, Remember). The film was developed and produced by Walden Media and is produced by Oscar and Golden Globe winner Akiva Goldsman (Upcoming Tom Clancy's Without Remorse, A Beautiful Mind) and Greg Lessans through Weed Road Pictures.

Walden Media’s President and CEO Frank Smith and Executive Vice President of Development and Production Naia Cucukov will executive produce. The film will go into production 2021 in Eastern Europe.

"We are incredibly excited to take on this cold war thriller, a departure from Walden’s usual cannon, to bring this mysterious world to life. We are honoured to work with talents Mads Mikkelsen and Armie Hammer with Amma Asante at the helm, on a story that showcases how one person can change the world," said Frank Smith, president/CEO of Walden Media.

"August has brilliantly mined Hoffman’s detailed account of the Billion Dollar Spy and delivered a screenplay that will thrill all the fans of analog spycraft," added HanWay Films managing director Gabrielle Stewart. "At the same time we are going to inhabit the contrasting personal lives of our two spies: the personal challenges and the impact their world changing activities have on their marriages, their families and their own psyches. Asante's imprint is right here, and along with her very talented actors, she has the opportunity to give us a completely fresh and multi-layered perspective on the Cold War thriller."

Mikkelsen is represented by Art Management and UTA, Hammerby WME, Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern, and Relevant. Asante is represented by CAA, United Agents, and Mosaic.