David Cronenberg Looks To Lock In His Denzel/Cruise Spy Thriller 'The Matarese Circle'

'David Cronenberg'You can already see the trailer: From the author who brought you Jason Bourne! And the visionary director who blew your mind with “Scanners” and broke your heart with “A History of Violence”! Tom Cruise…and Denzel Washington in…“The Matarese Circle”!!

It pretty much screams Hollywood blockbuster, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For all the ink spilled in the trades and on the Internet over the adaptation of the Robert Ludlum novel, MGM has not yet green-lit the 'Matarese' project. In an exclusive interview with the man pegged to both write and direct, David Cronenberg revealed to MTV News that the movie, while still on track, is not yet a done deal—because there are neither contracts with the stars nor a final script in place.

“Nobody has signed on,” Cronenberg said. “The Hollywood is term is ‘attached.’ Nobody actually knows what that means. It’s a very abstract, almost religious concept.”

The bottom line, and why he's certain the film will move foward, Cronenberg explained, is that “Denzel is very interested in the idea of doing a movie with Tom Cruise and with me. It will depend on him loving the script and then signing on. At the moment we don’t have a script that we’re ready to show.”

The book, written in 1979, tells the story of two intelligence agents—one American, one Soviet—who must work together to expose an enigmatic criminal underground that has infiltrated the American government. Denzel would play the US agent and Cruise would play the Russian one.

The team behind “Wanted,” Derek Haas and Michael Brandt, wrote an earlier version of the script and now Cronenberg is busy with his own writing duties. “I wrote an original script that was not based on any other script and that was only somewhat based on the book,” Cronenberg said. “Because the book is thirty years old and it presupposes the Soviet Union and it doesn’t have the technology we have now, it really required a major rethink. I wrote an original script based on some of the concepts in the book and I’m in the process of doing rewrites now.”

Without a finished script or deals in place with the stars, of course, MGM has not yet given the official go-ahead. “It’s not green-lit because we all have to say, ‘We love this script and here’s a budget we feel is correct,’” said Cronenberg. “Then it would be green-lit. You’d have to make the stars pay-or-play at that point to go forward because it would be a very expensive movie.”

As many pieces that still have to fall into place, Cronenberg remains confident that “Matarese” will happen. “MGM is very, very gung-ho about it. They really want it to happen and so do I. It would be very exciting.”

What do you think about a Denzel/Cruise collaboration? What do you think about Cronenberg taking on a big budget spy thriller with two A-list stars?