Mike Fleming

olenEXCLUSIVE: Chockstone Pictures partners Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz have teamed with Nick Wechsler to acquire film rights to All The Old Knives, the forthcoming spy thriller by Olen Steinhauer that will be published next year. They’ve also set the author to write the script.

Steinhauer is the American writer of spy novels including bestsellers The Cairo Affair, The Tourist, and the Milo Weaver Trilogy. Said Paula Mae Schwartz: “Ex-CIA agent and devoted mother, the female character (Celia) is a true superwoman. Irresistible.”

A couple of studios were circling, but the Schwartzes and Wechsler don’t mess around when they like something, as happened when they preempted the Cormac McCarthy spec script The Counselor, which Ridley Scott directed.

The book takes place in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, where two ex-lovers–one CIA spy and one ex-CIA spy–meet for dinner and to reminisce. They relive their memories of the disastrous hijacking of Royal Jordanian Flt 127, which ended in the death of all onboard. It’s a failure that haunts the CIA’s Vienna station to this day. The question is whether Henry has come to dinner to rekindle the romance or get to the bottom of a conspiracy. It also becomes clear that one of the ex-lovers may not survive the meal.

Wechsler called the book “an extraordinary two-hander that will attract extraordinary talent.” The trio will produce while Chockstone development exec Roger Schwartz and Wechsler exec Felicity Aldridge will be co-producers. Sylvie Rabineau of RWSG and Stephanie Cabot of the The Gernert Company repped the author, while David Fox repped the Schwartzes and Wechsler.

Get Deadline news and alerts sent to your inbox.