MGM has brought on filmmaker Matthew Vaughn to direct their spy thriller I Am Pilgrim, based on the novel of the same name by screenwriter/author Terry Hayes. The book was published in May 2014, with MGM acquiring the rights just a few months later. Deadline reports that Matthew Vaughn will also produce and co-finance the adaptation through his Marv Films company.

The story centers on a former spy, the adopted son of a wealthy American family, who used to head up an elite espionage unit. Now retired and living in anonymity, he is lured back to assist with a bizarre investigation, a grisly murder in a New York hotel room, which quickly escalates to a matter of national security. The plot unfolds into a race against time to save America from complete annihilation. In the novel, "Pilgrim" is a code name for a person who doesn't officially exist.

I Am Pilgrim is the first novel from Terry Hayes, an accomplished screenwriter whose credits include Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Dead Calm, Payback, Vertical Limit and From Hell. The author is writing the screenplay adaptation himself, with production slated to begin sometime next year. It isn't known if the filmmakers already have their eye on an actor for the leading role quite yet, but production is certainly moving forward.

Lloyd Braun, Jonathan Glickman and Matt Hines are producing I Am Pilgrim alongside Matthew Vaughn. The director is coming off his box office hit Kingsman: The Secret Service, and he is currently writing the script for the sequel, Kingsman 2, with Jane Goldman. We also reported in April that the director is in talks to take the helm on 20th Century Fox's remake of Flash Gordon, but it isn't known when that may go into production.

MGM plans on turning this novel into a potential franchise, much like its lucrative James Bond series, which continues later this year with Spectre. After Spectre hits theaters, MGM's deal with Sony Pictures expires, so there will be several studios vying to co-finance and co-distribute the 007 movies with MGM. Regardless of who takes over for Sony, MGM could very well have another lucrative spy property laying in wait with I Am Pilgrim.