About The Production
It was five years ago that the original script for Spy Game, written and conceived by Michael Frost Beckner, first came to the attention of producers Douglas Wick of Red Wagon Entertainment and Marc Abraham, president of Beacon Communications. A fictitious story of the relationship between two men Spy Game is played out against the complex metamorphosis the CIA underwent from 1975 to 1991, a volatile time on many fronts around the world.
"I wanted to examine the second half of the Cold War, with a veteran officer looking back at that
period as he prepares to retire, then filter it through the eyes of the young
protege," said Beckner, who has researched and written about the CIA for many years and created the new televison series, The Agency. "I also wanted to take a look at patriotism in a morally ambiguous time, and show how ultimately, patriotism is a personal thing, about doing the right thing for the right reason.
"The CIA of 1991 and the CIA of right now are two entirely different creatures," Beckner emphasized, "and Spy Game is not meant as any kind of primer on the agency. It's a human story about the things people have to live with for the rest of their lives."
That story resonated with Wick and Abraham.
"I saw Spy Game as a metaphor, a story of redemption, about a character who finds this young man who in some ways is the mirror of himself, and whom he gradually begins to mould into a top CIA contract agent," said Wick.
"The script was very stirring," Abraham agreed. "The way it explored history through the CIA's efforts in Vietnam, Berlin and Beirut gave it an epic quality. Spy Game is an ironic title in that it's actually about life and death. The themes of friendship and the pain and disillusionment that come with the falling apart of that friendship are enormously poignant and powerful."
The script also promised challenging action sequences set in exotic locales, a strong lure for Tony Scott who has directed such landmark action thrillers as Top Gun, Crimson Tide, Days of Thunder and Enemy of the State.
"It's a wild ride," Scott said. "The story opens in China, then goes to Vietnam where the heroes first meet, then on to Berlin where Muir trained Bishop, then to Beirut at the peak of a conflict. We detail a 16-year span of American history, much of it in flashback. We've got spectacular locations, shocking cuts between the present and the past, fascinating characters and an incredible cast. It's a huge character jigsaw puzzle and a smorgasbord of colors and emotions and places and sounds — you can smell all these different environments."
From as early as 1998, Robert Redford was attached to the project, showing instant interest in the script and the character of Nathan Muir. This was a tremendous casting coup for the producers. "When Bob said he was interested and eventually that he would do the movie" said Abraham, "we knew we were onto something great. I think historically one of the finest spy films ever made was Three Days of the Condor, and Bob brought so much authenticity and charisma to that role. I knew we'd love to see him in something like this."
Redford offered other distinctive strengths, as well. "There are two things that Robert Redford does better than almost any other actor," said Wick. "One of them is friendship, and a huge part of this movie is about the friendship between his character and Brad Pitt's character. The second thing is that Robert Redford is one of those actors who always looks like he has a secret. Whenever you see him,
you think maybe he's up to something. So the idea of him walking around the CIA with all the other people one step behind, not quite as good as he is and wondering what he is up to, became incredibly intriguing. I think with Spy Game, people are going to see Robert Redford at his full potential
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