Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon Coming to the Big Screen

Author Daniel Silva has signed a deal with Universal Pictures to bring Gabriel Allon, the star of his bestselling spy series, to the big screen. Allon is an art restorer and semi-retired Israeli spy, and has starred in ten of Silva’s thrillers. Book eleven, Portrait of a Spy, is due in July.

Universal nearly purchased the movie rights to Silva’s books a few years ago, but the deal fell through. I attended a book signing event back in 2009 for Daniel Silva’s The Defector, and he spoke about Hollywood’s interest in Gabriel Allon. He talked about how frustrating the whole process is and how he wants the movie version of Gabriel Allon to stay true to the character he created. He said:

You know, after nine books I’m very protective of him [Gabriel Allon]. But I also feel that after nine books he belongs less and less to me and more to you the readers. And I feel obligated to make certain that the Gabriel Allon that exists on the page is the one that ends up on the screen. [Applause] And I’m adamant about this. I have heard things that would make my hair stand on end. I had a meeting with a producer and director team that have done some of the most successful thrillers of the last twenty years—a series—I can’t say what they are because these are confidential discussions. And they said they really wanted to do it but there was just one problem. They said, “Does Gabriel really have to be Jewish?” [Laughter] I thought about it and I said, “He is Israeli. I think that’s one we’re not going to be able to fudge.”

So why did Silva sign off on the movie deal this time? According to Deadline, it might be because his friend Jeff Zucker, former head of NBC Universal, has agreed to produce the movie. Silva has been named an executive producer as well.

As for casting Gabriel Allon, Silva said this at the book signing:

I’ve stated often that my ideal casting would be Daniel Day Lewis, but he won a little thing called the Academy Award last year so I don’t know that he’s going to be available. But there are a number of wonderful actors who are dying to play the role.

Who would you like to see as Gabriel Allon? And which of his ten books would make the best movie? Let me know in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @kristendaemons

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  • Magexperiment

    I would like for them to start at the beginning, and move through every single one. I would love for the Gabriel Allon books to become like the James Bond movies. I’m glad to see that Hollywood is interested in making Daniel Silva’s books into films, but can’t get over the “Does Gabriel really have to be Jewish” comment. Seriously? Daniel Day Lewis is a nice thought, so is Gabriel Byrne. I would much prefer to see some lesser-known actors in key roles such as Gabriel and Chiara. I saw somewhere on the internet that Olivia Wilde was suggested. I can’t see that choice at all. In any event, the wait is going to be long and torturous.

  • Fred Brogger

    Congratulations Daniel and I know that you and Jamie thought long and hard about this and achieved some level of control regarding choice of director, casting, and script approval. The Allon franchise is an important asset and needs very careful handling, particularly the first one out of the box. Starting at the beginning is a good suggestion if the actor chosen has the age range. By the way I do like the one casting suggestion of Gabriel Byrne. Anyway, Daniel, the best of luck. Having produced some twenty films myself I will be following developments closely and obviously will help in any way I can if needed.

  • Kalbar

    You should start with the very first book and continue on in the order you wrote them. It helps understand Gabriel Allen and the viewer is able to see how he matures as the books continue. Everyone who reads your books has their own vision of who the main characters look like. I picture Shamron looking a little like Ben Gurion, and Gabriel as a typical young Israeli man, with dark curly hair. Whom ever they choose, please, please, do not let them take away the Jewishness of the characters, the story, etc. The world is so anti-semitic these days, and there are so many countries that are against Israel, please make them show this small country and its people in a good light.

  • Fernando_pinho

    I suport the sugestion of gabriel byrne. he is the most similar to my image of gabriel allon. Grey hair, false vulnerability, and the same aura of tragedy.

  • KLM

    Eric Bana is a superb actor to consider for the role of Gabriel. He played the lead in the movie Munich.


  • KLM

    – Agreed…start from the beginning with the books.
    – Agreed…would love to see lesser known actors to lend more credence to the story. Very famous actors can often overpower the story with their fame. (Which is likely the case with Water for Elephants)

  • Privateye2212

    I’ve read every Gabriel Allon book and I’d love to see Viggo Mortenson play the role of Gabriel. He has a way of putting so much emotion into a character, and he is awesome in action sequences. Jeff Rush would be totally amazing as the old man (Ariel Sharron) Of course Jeff Rush is amazingly awesome in everything he touches… Moving on, Ciara would be nicely played by Kiera Knightley (as long as she doesn’t lose any more weight). What can I say, she’s hot and Ciara is hot. I’m sure Mortenson wouldn’t mind doing a few love making scenes with her. I’d love to be his stunt double for one of them… Ha!

  • Allen Groves

    I have found the perfect pair as Gabriel Allon and Chiara, they would be Yeuda Levi and Liat Belo

    Allen Groves

  • Emkoutny

    My first thought was Gabriel Byrne, but I heard that Goran Visnjic, who was suburb on ER was being considered and I think he would be ideal. He is a lesser known actor, but he has the smoldering good looks and intensity required.

  • http://profiles.google.com/noble.button kelly taylor

    Oded Fehr (The Mummy, Deuce Bigelow, Covert Affairts, Sleeper Cell fame) would be a great consideration for Gabriel in the movie adaptation. His guest starring role on Covert Affairs was excellent in his role as a spy, + the added bonus of an authentic accent since he is from Israel. Excellent, unassuming, underappreciated actor, who wouldn’t overpower the role.

    • Svenska

      Yes Kelly! You are so right about Oded Fehr being underappreciated…he is a wonderful actor! Not sure I see him as Gabriel but I could see him as one of Gabriel’s co-spies certainly. I would love to see Oded get some great roles. He was amazing in “Sleeper Cell”

  • Bobj1156

    Daniel Craig. Period.

    • Allen Groves

      Cant have DC as gabriel and as JB

      • Lee

        I have always seen Gabriel as Daniel Craig also.  I sorta see Robert Loggia as Shamron.

    • Rick in MI

      I’m sorry, but Daniel Craig is FAR too large and too muscled… and also not perceived as the intellect required. His Bond character would also kill it. Ben Kingsley as Ari. Perhaps Natalie Portman as Chiara. Any news???

      • Pops

        I agree with Portman as chiara.

  • newbie

    guy pearce

  • Bmgoldstein

    The obvious choice for Gabriel Allon is the Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi of Walk on Water and The Notebook fame. The man can act and is tailored-made for the role. Anybody not Jewish or Israeli just wouldn’t cut it.

  • Rick V in MI

    Ben Kingsley as Shamron???

  • Loiszagha

    Either a lesser known actor, or one not as well-known in the U.S., or Daniel Craig. Would be wonderful if he were an Israeli who has lived abroad but has the unique physical presence of an Israeli man. Bear in mind that while he is Israeli, Gabriel is of German background. Therefore he should not resemble the stereotypical Israeli who is more likely of Sephardic heritage. Daniel Craig actually has the perfect physical attributes of the Gabriel in my minds eye.

  • Loiszagha

    Shamron must be someone with the physical presence of Ariel Sharon. Again, surely there is an older Israeli actor who could be cast in this role. His Hebrew accent MUST be authentic.
    Chiara is Italian Jew. She should be warm and sexy. The actress who played the sister-in-law of Horatio ‘s character on CSI Miami. Please not Kiera N. or any of the anorexic bunch of young actresses.

    • Rick in MI

      Ben Kingsley!!!!

  • Ludmila

    I’d rather give these series to the brits-they are great in doing series.I doubt very much that Hollywood could do something decent.
    Except for Scorsese  !!!
    Well ,as to Gabriel,he simply MUST be unknown actor. And have the  resemblance to Daniel Silva himself-intellectual the most.
    Good luck!

    I’m in love with Gabriel Allon!!!

  • Ludmila

    Yes! I agree the Goran Višnjić-is ideal type for Gabriel Allon.

  • Donna

    This really is a no-brainer . . . Daniel Craig . . . . hellllloooooooooo . . . .green eyes, blonde hair???  This is who I’ve pictured in my mind’s eye as the physical characteristics of Gabriel ever since I read the very first book in the series many years ago!!  Is Daniel available?  And maybe his lovely wife, Rachel Weisz for Chiara!!  It’s a done deal!!

    • Svenska

      Gabriel is not blond

      • Rick in MI

        ummm, PLEASE no on both! LOL

  • Pat from Jupiter

    Daniel Silva could play Gabriel Allon.  I thought Lee Child could play his character, Jack Reacher, but Tom Cruise is playing him.  What a mistake.  I hope Daniel Silva is very thoughtful regarding who plays his character.

  • Svenska

    Perhaps Jim Caviezel would make a good Gabriel Allon?

    • Linda Davis

      I agree!!!! I think Jim Caviezel would be amazing! I also think Robert Downing Jr. could do the part…

    • Rick in MI

      Too tall

  • Svenska

    Jim Caviezel could be an interesting choice. He has the gravitas to play a complex character like Gabriel and the look too. Oded Fehr MUST have a part. Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Uzi.
    Shamron: a cross between Ariel Sharon, Ben Gurion and Moshe Dayan and a bit of tough Pole thrown in for good measure? Hard to think of an actor with the right look and chops to do this.
    No flash Hollywood stars please. Chiara is so European…keep her that way. Perhaps a joint European /Hollywood effort would be a good idea? I fear Hollywood getting it’s grubby hands on this wonderful series,

    • Rick in MI

      Ben Kingsley!!!!

  • leo

    Excuse me!…as an actor and fan of your books you miss the most obvious choice for gabriel allon, Yours truly Daniel Silva. It would seem to me if you can create such a great character, why couldn’t you bring him to life. as i read your books I use your face to picture Allon and daniel day lewis is a good likeness.

    • Rick in MI

      … except for the small fact that he is not an actor. lol

  • Lee

    Maybe you could resurrect John Cassavettes. Allon is not a physically imposing character. Craig would be wrong. Byrne is too old. The person may be need to play the roll for years. I agree Oded Fehr would have been good but Hollywood will require more star power. I remember seeing Russell Crowe’s wife in Gladiator and thinking that’s Chiara. Please choose wisely. Turning off your fans can be easily accomplished as was done by using Cruise as Reacher. An outrage to those who care to have put a diminutive actor in the role of a very large man. This character represents a nation and it’s people in a very difficult part of the world. It could be offensive to certain countries who would not like to think of crimes being commited by representatives of Israel within their borders. Much easier with Bond being British than Allon being Israeli. Choose well Daniel, Allon has become a symbol of what is right.

  • JAG

    I always imagined him looking like a younger Mark Lamura, just based on the physical description. Although, he would probably be the wrong age to be cast in the part now.

  • Mythblaster

    Just promise me you won’t ever consider Tom Cruise. EVER!!!

  • Vancheeswaran Gopal

    With age, build and looks Matt Damon is ideal as Gabriel Allon. Robert De Niro as Shamran will be very apt !

  • Louise Santoro

    I agree that all the books should be filmed. Bond has nothing on Allon. I also would like to see less well-known actors who could disappear into the characters. Also the actor should physically resemble Allon. (Nothing annoyed me more than tiny Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher, a character who was supposed to be intimidatingly large.)

  • Lorraine Brown

    I think Jason Statum (add a little hair and green contacts) would be perfect even though I’d like to see an Israeli in the part. But his level of intensity and his skills would make a perfect Gabriel.