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David Cronenberg Explains What Happened To The Spy Thriller, “The Matarese Circle,” That Denzel Washington And Tom Cruise Were To Star In

David Cronenberg Explains What Happened To The Spy Thriller, "The Matarese Circle," That Denzel Washington And Tom Cruise Were To Star In

In a bidding war back in 2008, MGM paid $3 million dollars for the rights to Robert Ludlulm‘s popular novel The Matarese Circle.  Much like his well known Bourne Identity franchise, the book revolves around the world of espionage. 

The story centers on two secret agents, American CIA agent Bradley Scofield and Russian KGB agent Vasili Taleniekov, who are sworn enemies but ultimately come together to fight a group of international killers known as the Matarese.

Denzel Washington was slated to play agent Scofield and Tom Cruise would be his nemeses agent Taleniekov.  Screenwriting duo Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (2 Fast 2 Furious, 3:10 to Yuma, Wanted) were attached to write the script. David Cronenberg was on board with directing duties but while promoting his latest production, A Dangerous Method, he explained to what happened to the project.

I was working on ‘The Matarese Circle,’ the novel by Robert Ludlum, which was going to star Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise, before MGM went belly up. So I don’t think that’s going to happen now.  Tom still likes the idea though,” he said.

Too bad becauseTHIS I would definitely pay to see.  I don’t think Washington and Cruise have worked together so this project would certainly have an interesting dynamic.  Come on Hollywood…enough with the cartoons and vampires.  Let’s get back to good ol’ espionage! 

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Mekisha Hale

I do remember a while back when this was going to be the movie "Matarese Circle" starring "Denzel Washington" but at the time I don't remember if the co-star was at time can't remember if actor "Tom Cruise" was the guy are not. Anyway the way it was the description of the script was really intriguing at the time. Sounded like a go for the studio at the time. But as it was explain MGM went belly up sort of speaking. This would've been the movie for "Denzel Washington". As for the co-star actor Tom Cruise I don't know if he would've been the correct choice. Another actor would've been a better choice I could be wrong,but actor would have liked the opportunity with a talented actor as Denzel Washington. But the story of the movie really has a modern elements to it. Even some of the Cold War references and the whole U.S. and Russia story line sounds great if only MGM didn't go belly up. So if this deal had been made without the problems of MGM studio then it would've been already made by now. But the problem finance did keep this project from being made. So if the studio knew that there was a finance problem,then why buy the rights to the movie version of Matarese Circle,if it wasn't going to be made. Why not have let another studio that was in not so deep financial stoop as MGM. Oh well,that's an whole entire different story all together.


Hmm…Interesting. Thanks for the post Cynthia!


Espionage, inDEED. Would love to see these two together, though I wonder what Cruise's "accent" would have sounded like… I haven't seen Valkyrie. Does he have an accent in that feature? He's a Nazi, no? Was it a good movie? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? As for Cronenberg, as quietly ubiquitous as he is, I've known of his works without knowing they belonged to him.


Well, Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method is excellent. And it doesn't have cartoons or vampires. Just Freud, Jung and psychological heebie-jeebies. More up my alley than this one, although I love Denzel, the less Tom Cruise I have to endure the better IMO.


I remember when this was first announced; shame that it's dead in the water.

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