Paul Greengrass to Direct Al Qaeda Spy Film ‘Agent Storm’

By July 29, 2014

Paul Greengrass has never been afraid to direct a movie with content ripped from the headlines. He helmed 2006’s United 93 about the September 11th, 2001 attacks and most recently directed Tom Hanks in the excellent Captain Phillips, and now Deadline reports he’ll be reteaming with Phillips producer Scott Rudin to direct a film based on the book Agent Storm: My Life Inside Al Qaeda.

Here’s the full description of the book from Amazon:

Morten Storm was an unlikely Jihadi. A six-foot-one red-haired Dane, Storm spent his teens in and out of trouble. A book about the Prophet Mohammed prompted his conversion to Islam, and Storm sought purpose in a community of believers. He attended a militant madrasah in Yemen, named his son Osama, and became close friends with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born terrorist cleric. But after a decade of Jihadi life, he not only repudiated extremism but, in a quest for atonement, became a double agent for the CIA and British and Danish intelligence.

Agent Storm takes readers inside the jihadist world like never before, showing the daily life of zealous men set on mass murder, from dodging drones with al-Qaeda leaders in the Arabian desert to training in extremist gyms in Britain and performing supply drops in Kenya. The book also provides a tantalizing look at his dangerous life undercover, as Storm traveled the world for missions targeting its most dangerous terrorists , and into the world’s most powerful spy agencies: their tradecraft, rivalries, and late-night carousing, as well as their ruthless use of a beautiful blonde in an ambitious honey trap. Agent Storm is a captivating, utterly unique, real-life espionage tale.

Greengrass, of course, is most famous for directing The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum (and bringing the shaky-cam style to the forefront of modern action movies), so all of this talk about tradecraft and espionage is familiar ground for him. War is a part of our lives whether America is directly involved or not (just watch the news if you need convincing), and films that take a historical bent – like Zero Dark Thirty and, presumably, this film – try to help us contextualize violence through a narrative that helps us understand why it happens. Greengrass is a great filmmaker, and I’m definitely intrigued with what he thinks he can do with this story. We’ll keep you updated as things progress. As for whether or not he’ll be back in the Bourne director’s chair any time soon? It doesn’t seem likely.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.