Columbia Pictures Makes Pre-Emptive Bid to Acquire Films Rights To Robert Littell's Spy Thriller 'The Company: A Novel of the CIA'


Columbia Pictures made a pre- emptive bid to acquire the motion picture rights to Robert Littell's epic spy thriller "The Company: A Novel of the CIA," it was jointly announced today by John Calley, Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Amy Pascal, Chairman of Columbia Pictures.

The novel, which has quickly emerged on best-selling lists nationwide, has become a media magnet since its release on April 29. "The Company: A Novel of the CIA" is a multigenerational thriller set against the shadow world of spies. The book seamlessly weaves fact and fiction while chronicling fifty years of clandestine operations involving the CIA and their infamous counterparts in the KGB, MI6, and The Mossad.

A former Newsweek correspondent, Littell has earned enthusiastic reviews for the entertaining and insightful way in which he blends momentous international events with an underworld of secretive warriors engaged in a chilling game of global hopscotch.

"Robert Littell is the intelligence community's Mario Puzo," Calley said. "'The Company' is a literal masterwork of the spy genre and it will provide a rich and realistic tapestry for the development of an epic film centered on the world of espionage. The acquisition of this book is a coup for Columbia Pictures and this film will offer indelible insight into an unforgettable group of men and women who have spent their careers honing the coup as an art form."

"You don't get material that is better than this," Pascal said. "It is an amazing anthology of spy stories and each one is a melting pot of moral and ethical ambiguity. I am incredibly excited about its potential and I look forward to working with John as we bring this story to the screen."

"'The Company' is virtually a history of the U.S. for the past 50 years, as seen through the dark lens of the CIA, its members, and their families," said Peter Mayer, president and publisher of The Overlook Press, which is in the process of publishing the book worldwide. "We couldn't be more delighted that John Calley responded to this material the way that he did. It is a wonderful affirmation of the four years Robert spent researching and writing this incomparable novel."

Littell was dubbed "The American LeCarre" by the New York Times. "The Company" is his 13th published novel. To date, one film has been adapted from his works -- The Amateur. Littell is represented by his literary agent Ed Victor as well as his attorney Alan U. Schwartz at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

About Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures, part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a division of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at .


SOURCE: Columbia Pictures

Contact: Steve Elzer, Senior Vice President, Media Relations, Columbia
TriStar Motion Picture Group, +1-310-244-7142,