January 31, 2003
Colin Farrell may be the most famous and well-paid actor who has yet to appear in a bona-fide hit (though in all likelihood Minority Report will change that). The young actor, who first made his mark in Joel Schumacher's indie hit Tigerland, received $5 million to sign on for The Farm, a thriller that is loosely based on the story of Harold Nicholson, a CIA agent who was convicted of spying for the Russian government.
Farrell has the lead in the Spyglass production, which will be distributed by Disney's Touchstone Pictures. Al Pacino and Bridget Moynihan will costar. The story details are fairly sketchy at this point, but the plot will revolve around a young CIA operative who is training at "the Farm", a secret facility in Virginia where the brightest and best are groomed to work in China. Farrell's character suspects that his mentor (Pacino) and other instructors may be double-agents for the Chinese government. The original script was penned by Roger Towne (The Natural), with Kurt Wimmer (1999's The Thomas Crown Affair) and Mitch Glazer (Scrooged) handling rewrites. Director Roger Donaldson has had some experience with intricate tales of suspense, as he directed No Way Out and Thirteen Days.
As far as the true story on which this film is apparently based, Nicholson says he turned to selling secrets to the Russians in an attempt to obtain money to care for his children after the dissolution of his marriage. The highest-ranking CIA officer ever to be caught stealing, he sold national security secrets to Moscow for a period of two-and-a-half years, during which time he was paid approximately $300,000. He is currently serving over 23 years in prison, and as part of his sentence will never see any profits for sale of his story for any books or movies.
Expect the Disney machine to give The Farm strong marketing support that will likely reach a broad demographic, thanks to the involvement of the youthful Farrell and the outstanding reputation and past track record of Pacino. An excellent jumping-off point for comparison is surely Spy Game, which had a similar pairing in Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, though Pitt is more than a decade older than the up-and-coming Irish actor. Assuming that Minority Report establishes Farrell as a hot Hollywood commodity, The Farm has all the makings of a decent-sized hit. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Comparison films for The Recruit
|Sum of All Fears, The
|Clear and Present Danger
|Enemy of The State
|Hunt for Red October, The