In 2012, Mitt Romney was laughed off the debate stage by saying that the biggest threat to U.S. security was Russia. Five years, and several disturbing reports about Russian trolls attempting to sow chaos in the 2016 election later, no one is laughing anymore. The Americans, the 1980s period TV series about USSR spies in the U.S., suddenly found itself accidentally relevant five seasons in. Now we have the Red Sparrow trailer for the upcoming political-spy-thriller-romance hybrid starring Jennifer Lawrence.
The film is based on the 2014 novel of the same name, written by a former CIA operative named Jason Matthews. The story, which is fiction, centers on Dominika Egorova, a principal dancer with the Moscow ballet, who doubles as an intelligence officer, aka "Red Sparrow." She is a product of the "Sparrow school," which teaches beautiful men and women in the art of seducing and retrieving information from their targets. Her target is one Nate Nash, a CIA agent mole who is burrowed in Russia. Egorova and Nash begin an affair, but who is really telling secrets to who?
If this sounds vaguely familiar to Marvel fans, that's because it's not far off from the comic's imagined "Widow" program, complete with our protagonist having ballet dancer training. In fact, for those who have been hoping for Marvel to get around to a Black Widow stand alone, I feel safe saying to 20th Century FOX has beaten them to the punch, and this is the closest thing we'll probably get.
Here's the trailer.
Here's the official synopsis from the novel.
Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.
It should be noted that the rights for the film were purchased even before the novel was released four years ago, so the final edit of the book was done with a blockbuster thriller in mind.
Though the story is fictionalized, a review of the book published by the CIA suggest that Matthews captures the reality of what it is to do espionage in the present day.
The scenes in which Nate and Dominika course through urban landscapes in intricate, hours-long surveillance detection routes in order to get clean before a clandestine operational act are accurate, richly detailed renderings of anxiety-filled tasks conducted daily by intelligence operatives around the world.
The original trailer for Red Sparrow came out back in September and was much heavier on the visuals and much less so on the overall plot. Both trailers hint that we'll be seeing Lawrence en pointe for at least some of the movie, in flashes that look like they could be part of Darren Aronofsky's upcoming sequel Red Swan.
(Ironic, since Lawrence and Aronofsky broke up this past fall after the box office disaster that was mother!)
Red Sparrow sees Jennifer Lawrence reunited with Francis Lawrence (no relation!), who directed the second, third, and fourth installments of The Hunger Games franchise that helped shoot her to A-list level fame. Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty) plays Nash, the CIA agent who she may (or may not) be falling for. The great Charlotte Rampling is the head of the Sparrow school, and legendary Jeremy Irons is General Vladimir Andreievich Korchnoi, also known in the book as "MARBLE."
Red Sparrow will arrive in American theaters on March 2, 2018.