Today I caught wind of some *interesting* Russia news: Jason Matthews’s post-Soviet spy novel Red Sparrow is getting a movie adaptation in 2017.
Walked past Jennifer Lawrence #RedSparrow movie set. About a “sexy Russian spy drafted into the agency against her will”. Evil Russians!
— Danielle Ryan (@DanielleRyanJ) January 16, 2017
Here’s the description of the original book:
In today’s Russia, dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow. Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fatal double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington; hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the U.S. military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.
Not much is known about the film itself at this point, as not much has been released. However, aside from the fact the film’s basically the same stuff that Hollywood was pushing in the ’80s, I do know Jennifer Lawrence is playing the lead Dominika Egorova…
And Putin will be a character (dammit!) played by actor Matthias Schoenaerts, who could pass for a decent early 2000s Putin.
Though if the Red Sparrow movie is anything like what I’ve heard and read of its source material, it’s going to be far-fetched, sex-drenched, black-and-white, and Russophobic as s**t.
But you know, that could just be my “bad” sources.
I’m interested in the Red Sparrow movie, if only because a) the original book is on my review list (and has been on my shelf for several years now), b) I’m collecting data on representations of Putin in film and fiction (for…reasons), and c) I honestly want to scrutinize the media and audience reaction. It’s not a film I’d rush out to see, but chances are my family and friends, aware of my strong interest in Russia but unaware of my, ah, particularism, will plead and pester me into going with them to the theater. (But if that happens, I’m going to make them pay for my ticket). I can hear the “Hey J.T.! Hey J.T.!”s already…
Regardless of what I choose to do, Red Sparrow (2017) won’t be getting a review from me. The novel, perhaps, but I don’t do film reviews. Maybe I’ll open up guest contributions and enlist one of you guys to write a review in my stead. 🙂
As the year progresses and more info is released, I’ll probably update this post for interested parties. In the meantime though, I’ll keep my standards high and my expectations low.
What do you think the plot of Red Sparrow will be? Is this movie something you’d want to watch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Update 7/26/17: The Vladimir Putin character has been cut from the movie, according to The Moscow Times. He was the lucky one.
Studio insiders are attributing the decision to “creative forces.”
Update 6/29/17: “Red Sparrow’s” release date has been pushed to 2018, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Update 5/5/17: The cast list and synopsis for “Red Sparrow” have been added to the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes page:
Dominika Egorova is drafted against her will to become a “sparrow,” a trained seductress in the Russian security service. Dominika learns to use her body as a weapon, but struggles to maintain her sense of self during the dehumanizing training process. Finding her power in an unfair system, she emerges as one of the program’s strongest assets. Her first target is Nate Nash, a CIA officer who handles the agency’s most sensitive infiltration of Russian intelligence. The two young operatives fall into a spiral of attraction and deception, which threatens their careers, allegiances and the security of both countries.