Lionsgate has acquired worldwide motion picture rights to Gerard de Villiers’ best-selling action-spy series “S.A.S.”, which has sold more than 120 million copies worldwide. The studio will develop Malko with Academy Award-nominated actor Michael Fassbender (Alien: Covenant, Steve Jobs, 12 Years a Slave) set to produce the project and star in the lead role as super spy for hire Malko Linge. Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle, as well as upcoming films including Top Gun: Maverick) will write the screenplay, it was announced today by Joe Drake, Chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
With the deal, Lionsgate has also secured rights to de Villier’s action-packed catalogue of best selling espionage thrillers, serialized through 200 books that have been translated into multiple languages and sold throughout the world. The S.A.S. franchise follows the singular hero, Malko Linge, an Austrian nobleman and freelance CIA operative who spent his formative years in a special Nazi work camp for captured spies. Malko learned the intricate dark arts of tradecraft from the best. Now, an adult living in a reclaimed family manor fallen into disrepair, Malko becomes a spy for hire. He is the ultimate agent without an agency – a gentleman warrior without a country who works according to his own moral code and lives the only way a man who has grown up in the face of death can: with a wicked wit and a lust for all things in life, even the things that might kill him.
The first film will largely be based upon de Villier’s book “Checkpoint Charlie.” Lionsgate secured the film rights to the catalogue of S.A.S. based stories from Black Magic’s Lars Sylvest who developed the property with Gérard de Villiers and Thorsten Schumacher. The project will be produced together with Rocket Science.
“We are enormously excited to be teaming with Greg Shapiro and Michael Fassbender as well as Lars Sylvest from Black Magic and Thorsten Schumacher from Rocket Science to develop Malko,” said Drake. “This is a character with a tremendous 200 title library of amazing spy stories to draw from and we believe we have a world-class creative team in place with Michael and Eric Warren Singer as we move forward on this project.”
In addition to Fassbender, who is producing through his DMC Film production company, the film’s producers include Black Magic’s Lars Sylvest, Kingsgate Films’ Greg Shapiro (Academy Award winner for The Hurt Locker), and Rocket Science’s Thorsten Schumacher. Serving as executive producers are Singer, and Jason Clark, DMC’s Conor McCaughan. At Lionsgate, the project will be overseen by Senior Vice President of Production James Myers and Director of Development Brady Fujikawa.