Focus Features has acquired the rights to Welcome To Vienna, based on Kevin Wignall’s thriller To Die in Vienna. Jake Gyllenhaal is attached to star, and will also produce through his production company Nine Stories alongside Riva Marker. Annie Marter, EVP Production & Development for Nine Stories, will executive produce. Wignall’s novel To Die in Vienna will be published by Thomas & Mercer in June.
In the tradition of The Lives Of Others, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, and Focus’s 2010 film The Debt, Welcome To Vienna is an atmospheric modern take on the surveillance thriller, with a hip but damaged hero and a strong supporting cast of characters who’ve washed up in 21st Century Vienna.
Freddie is an American thirtysomething, a civilian surveillance contractor, who for the last year has been watching Jiang Cheng, a Chinese academic in Vienna. When Freddie returns home early one day, suffering a migraine, he interrupts a break-in at his apartment. The intruder escapes, but then comes back and tries to kill Freddie. This was no ordinary break-in, and from that moment on, Freddie’s a hunted man. It’s clear he’s seen something he shouldn’t have seen, but he has no idea what it is, or who it is trying to kill him, or even who’s been employing him. When Cheng also disappears and Freddie gets the first indications that it might be the CIA trying to shut him down, things look desperate. His only hope for survival is that they don’t know the whole truth about Freddie Makin either, or about the past he’s running away from.