Reagan Movie Eyes John Malkovich to Star as KGB Agent (Cannes Exclusive)

John Malkovich
Alessandro Moggi

The actor says his clothing line is named after a term he read in a yet-untitled Italian novel.

The “Dangerous Liaisons” actor would play a Russian spy assigned to tail the young Ronald Reagan as he ascends from small-time Hollywood actor to the U.S. presidency.

John Malkovich is in early talks to play a KGB operative in a movie about the life of former president Ronald Reagan.

The role in Reagan, from a script by Howard Klausner (Space Cowboys) would see the Dangerous Liaisons star portray a Russian spy assigned to keep an eye on a young Reagan, already a committed anti-communist crusader, as he arrives in Hollywood as a wannabe actor before embarking on his journey to the White House.

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Reagan’s story is told from the point of view of Viktor Petrovich, a veteran KGB agent, who recounts Reagan’s ascent from hometown hero in his native Dixon, Ill., to his life as an actor to presiding over the Oval Office, up until the day of the attempt on his life.

The script is out to a list of eight top directors, with Stephen Frears — whose résumé boasts The Queen, Philomena and the upcoming untitled Lance Armstrong biopic — currently leading the field, according to sources close to the?project.

The script is based on two best-selling books by author Paul Kengor, God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of?Communism.

The buzzy title is being touted to international buyers by U.K. banner Manifest Film Sales, a division of Intandem led by directors Andrew Brown and Billy Hurman, the British media company listed on the stock exchange a year after a management shakeup that saw former Walt Disney U.K. chief Robert Mitchell become CEO.

Mitchell is in Cannes to meet with financiers and talk up the company’s reinvention after spearheading the refinancing of the company.

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Intandem was carrying more than $1?million in debt at the time of Mitchell’s arrival.

Mitchell tells THR he intends to pull in financing for Reagan from high-net-worth individuals and expects to be fully financed by the end of June.

“It’s a great project that has all the elements,” says Mitchell. “We could raise the money easily from presale proceeds, but I want to take it to my investors for the?monies.”

The $26 million picture arrived at the market with a deal for a U.S. release on 3,000 screens and $35 million in prints and advertising pledged by Clarius Entertainment, which acquired Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas ahead of the market.

Reagan is being produced by Mark Joseph, a producer on the upcoming Jerry Lewis film Max Rose who also produced the rock soundtrack for The Passion of the Christ, and Ralph Winter, a producer on some of Fox’s X-Men movies including X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the upcoming The Giver from The Weinstein Co.