If you enjoyed the latest actress/director pairing on Netflix for Vicky Jewson’s Closer featuring Noomi Rapace, fret not. The two will be back together for Sylvia, which Jewson will pen with Close writer Rupert Whitaker tackling the 2010 biography, “Sylvia Rafael: The Life and Death of a Mossad Spy”, from author duo Ram Oren and Rafael’s former trainer, ex-Mossad agent Moti Kfir.
Sylvia is based on the life of the Mossad’s most famous female agent, Sylvia Raphael Schjødt, following her rise to prominence within the Mossad and her intelligence work locating Ali Hassan Salameh — the leader of Palestine’s Black September organisation and the figure behind the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. This mission would eventually lead to her involvement in the infamous Lillehammer affair.
As Variety‘s Stewart Clarke reports, the “Lillehammer affair”, bookmarks the incident involving the death of an innocent Moroccan mistakenly identified as Salameh and killed by Rafael’s team. Rafael was eventually tried in Norway and imprisoned, and passed away in South Africa in 2005.
Sylvia marks the latest reunion for Rapace and Jewson who grew the project at WestEnd Films’ female-skewed WeLove production banner which is also home to Close, 2018 boxing doc, Katie, and Nora Twomey’s Academy Award-nominated animated movie, The Breadwinner. Jewson and Whitaker will produce the film with Rapace Moshe Edery, Eitan Evan and Sharon Harel-Cohen.
WestEnd is handling international sales at the Cannes market.
“What is so enticing about this project is the opportunity to tell the true story of an extraordinary woman, who sacrificed a huge part of her life for a country that was not originally her own,” Jewson said. “I am keen to explore the unique personality of someone who put their life at risk on a daily basis and lived under a permanent dual identity, searching beyond the often glamorously perceived title of ‘spy’ to the gritty reality of this life and what drove her.”
Speaking about her blossoming partnership with Rapace, she added that “’Sylvia’ is exactly the sort of character-driven story we want to bring to the screen.”