Back Arts & Culture » Film & TV » Charlie Nguyen to Direct Film Based on Life of 'Perfect Spy' Phạm Xuân Ẩn

Charlie Nguyen to Direct Film Based on Life of 'Perfect Spy' Phạm Xuân Ẩn

The storied life of perhaps Vietnam’s most famous intelligence officer will be adapted for the silver screen in the near future.

Last week, researcher Larry Berman announced on his personal Facebook account that he had signed a contract to turn his biography of Phạm Xuân Ẩn into a full-length feature film. Berman is the author of Perfect Spy, one of the most prominent works detailing the journalist and spy Phạm Xuân Ẩn, codename X6.

”I have always believed and dreamed that the story of Pham Xuan An’s life would be made into a major motion picture,” he writes. “Today I am happy to announce that I have signed a contract with BHD Co. to make a movie based on my book PERFECT SPY for worldwide distribution.”

Veteran director Charlie Nguyễn has been confirmed to direct the unnamed adaptation. He told Thanh Nien that the agreement was reached after many years of negotiation with Berman and expressed excitement over the opportunity. Berman shared with Tuoi Tre that at the moment, there is no script or release date, though he will serve as the project’s creative consultant.

Phạm Xuân Ẩn was born in 1927. He joined the revolution in the 1950s and was sent to study journalism in the US in 1957 in order to create a convincing cover to infiltrate government agencies in southern Vietnam. After graduation, Ẩn worked as a reporter for Reuters, Time Magazine and other English-language news agencies in Saigon in the 1960s. He passed away in 2006 due to natural causes.

Larry Berman met Phạm Xuân Ẩn for the first time in 2000. According to him, Ẩn initially rejected all offers to turn his life into a book, including Berman’s. Over the years of their correspondence, the ex-intelligence officer became ill and was dying, so he gave Berman the greenlight to proceed with the biography. The first edition of the book was published in English in 2007 as Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent.

[Photo: Phạm Xuân Ẩn with his press card from 1965/Charles Dharapak via Time]