Malcolm Gladwell — Jew-fro’d best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and countless New Yorker essays that pretentious people bragged about reading — has sold a pitch to HBO for a show about Cold War spies in Berlin.
Gladwell has teamed with screenwriter Charles Randolph (The Life of David Gale, The Interpreter) for a project set in Cold War-era Berlin. It centers on a missionary who becomes involved in the CIA. Randolph will write and executive produce, with Gladwell joining Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg as nonwriting executive producers.
Gladwell has written about the world of espionage for the New Yorker and joined forces with Randolph to develop an idea set in the spy world. Levinson has been working on a separate spy project, and the producers decided to join forces. [The Live Feed]
Gladwell’s an excellent nonfiction writer, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a good historical fiction plot, and I haven’t like anything Randolph’s done. But the subject matter is too cool not to watch. Berlin during the Cold War is one of the tensest and most dramatic settings you could possibly have — an island of democracy surrounded by communism, with the endless espionage punctuated by events like the Berlin Airlift and Kennedy’s historic speech.
I hope they call it “Malcolm in the Middle of the Cold War.”