Eli Cohen Film: According to Variety, Boys Don't Cry writer-director Kimberly Peirce is helming a film about the legendary Israeli spy Eli Cohen for Columbia Pictures. Andrew Davies is penning the script.
The pic is a passion project for Peirce, who says she was drawn to Eli Cohen's story in the post 9/11 climate.
"I was really looking to do a story connected to the Arab culture that was adventurous and romantic," she said.
Peirce was unfamiliar with Cohen's bio until one night, when she was out with David Benioff, he recounted it.
"I sat down with David and wrote an outline and took that to Amy Pascal," she said.
Cohen was an Israeli spy who infiltrated the Syrian government. He was discovered and hanged in 1965, but the information he provided was largely responsible for Israel's capture of the Golan Heights in 1967.
The film will focus on Cohen's double life as a businessman/spy, spouse/lover as well as someone who knew the Koran as well as the Talmud.
"He was Kamal Amin Taabet, a wealthy playboy and the fastest-rising star in the Syrian government, consorting with presidents, generals and tycoons," Peirce said, "But he was also Eli Cohen, the Israeli spy who was hanged before a crowd of 10,000 people."