The Hollywood Reporter broke the story Thursday that Cross Creek Pictures has purchased rights to turn The Spy’s Son into a movie, a thrilling development that was more than eight years in the making.
The story began in January 2009, when Hollywood producer Scott Glassgold phoned me at The Oregonian newspaper, which had just published my first courtroom story on the arraignment of Jim and Nathan Nicholson on spying charges. Scott asked me if I was planning to write a long-form story on the cases, and I assured him that I certainly was (and later I did).
Scott recognized instantly that the core of this blistering spy narrative and crime story was the painful and complicated relationship between a cunning CIA officer-cum-Russian spy and his vulnerable son, whom he recruited inside a prison visiting room to carry on the family business of espionage.
Thus began a friendship that has sometimes felt like Scott and me against the world.
Scott, one of the hardest working men I know, came up through Disney Studios, a tireless producer always on the lookout for great stories. He ultimately created a package deal with Paramount Pictures in which the studio optioned rights to my book, the newspaper series I wrote for The Oregonian, and the life rights of Nathan Nicholson, the story’s protagonist. Scott and I both signed on as co-producers.
Paramount attached talented director D.J. Caruso and screenwriter Kario Salem (Chasing Mavericks), along with Robert DeNiro (as Jim Nicholson) and Shia LaBeouf (as Nathan Nicholson). Kario wrote the screenplay. But the studio didn’t renew the final option extension last summer. So Scott went back to several studios itching to turn the story into a feature film or TV series.
Cross Creek’s John Doherty, the company’s director of development, worked with Scott to negotiate a package deal in which Cross Creek purchased rights to the book, signed me on as a consultant and co-producer, secured Nathan Nicholson’s life rights, and brought on board wunderkind screenwriter Harrison Query, who's headed to Portland this weekend to immerse himself in the spy drama.
John is a Hollywood phenom, having started his career under producer J.C. Spink at Benderspink, which produced such comedy classics as American Pie and The Hangover and the sci-fi thriller The Butterfly Effect. He’s a key player in the development, production, and financing of projects aimed at creating what his bio describes as “thought-provoking and commercially viable films in a filmmaker-friendly environment.”
Scott, who founded the LA-based management and production company called Ground Control, is the perfect collaborator for Cross Creek His company focuses on cultivating groundbreaking filmmakers and distinctive storytellers, and I’m extremely proud to be moving in Scott’s orbit.
Cross Creek is the right company to move The Spy’s Son, as Scott put it yesterday, from Red Square to the Red Carpet.
It’s going to be a great ride.