All the pieces appeared to be in place for principal photography on Backstabbing For Beginners to commence this month, but it appears The Hunger Games‘ Josh Hutcherson has bowed out of Per Fly Plejdrup’s political thriller, with Deadline reporting that Theo James is in contention to fill the vacant role.
It’s a deal that could potentially have James step into the shoes of Michael, a budding program coordinator who dreams big with the UN’s much-touted Oil for Food program. But operating in the fallout of the Iraq War proves overly complicated for our protagonist. Taking inspiration from Michael Soussan’s memoir, Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course in International Diplomacy, Per Fly’s adaptation will see our protagonist forced to negotiate with power-mongering countries eyeing a lucrative oil reserve.
When the chips are down, though, Michael seeks the sage wisdom of seasoned diplomat Pasha (Ben Kingsley). Digging through copious amounts of digital content and archival material, James’ would-be character unearths a all-encompassing conspiracy, one that has a devastating effect on him, Pasha and the woman he loves. Previously, the studio trumpeted Soussan’s take on political corruption in a post-Iraq climate.
“Michael Soussan’s firsthand account of the dark underbelly of one of the world’s leading humanitarian organizations provides rich source material for Per Fly and Daniel Pyne who superbly capture the sharp and witty tone of the novel in their script.”
Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy of Parts & Labor are on board to produce Backstabbing For Beginners, though there’s no official word yet on how much Hutcherson’s exit affects the production timeline. Theo James, meanwhile, can next be seen in Summit Entertainment’s The Divergent Series: Allegiant when it opens on March 18, 2016.