DJ Adam Wingard and Simon “The Fresh Prince of Darkness” Barrett Take Aim on Espionage Thriller ‘Dead Spy Running’

What do you do when your first several efforts in the horror genre are quiet successes and your most critically acclaimed feature is delayed more than a year? If you’re director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett you sign with a major studio to adapt a bestselling spy thriller to the big screen.

The duo behind A Horrible Way to Die, segments in V/H/S and The ABCs of Death, and next year’s You’re Next have done just that. Per Deadline by way of /film, their next project will be an adaptation of Jon Stock‘s Dead Spy Running for WB. The book is the first in a trilogy about a disgraced MI6 agent named Danny Marchant thought to be a traitor by his own people and the CIA who is forced on the run to prove both his own innocence and his dead father’s.

The rights were snapped up on publication back in 2009, and since then various names have been attached to direct including McG, Stephen Gaghan and Jonathan Levine. Wingard and Barrett have come on board with an existing script from Gaghan (and Jamie Moss) that tweaked the novel’s lead character just a little bit. Marchant will no longer be a spy on the run…

He’ll be a DJ.

That’s right. As Deadline’s Mike Fleming puts it with a straight typeface, “As Danny tries to clear his name and avenge his father’s death, he gets deeper into the world of espionage while never forgetting his background and skills as a DJ.”

I’ll give you a minute on that one.

Done laughing? Good. The premise sounds like it’s taken a turn for the worse, but Wingard and Barrett are smart enough filmmakers that we wouldn’t dream of counting them out yet. WB is obviously hoping for a Bourne-like franchise of their own here as the film, if successful, would be followed by two sequels. The fact that they’d place that weight on the shoulders of this duo speaks volumes to their confidence as well.

Rob is the Chief Film Critic of Film School Rejects. He doesn't eat cheese on weekdays.

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