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.
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