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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007, 16:33 GMT
Race on to make Litvinenko film
Johnny Depp
Depp set up his Infinitum Nihil production company in 2004
Hollywood star Johnny Depp is to produce one of two films about the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko said to be in development.

Warner Bros has bought the rights to a yet-unpublished book written by Alan Cowell of the New York Times.

Warner Bros bought the rights to the book for Depp's production company, Infinitum Nihil, to develop, trade newspaper Variety said.

Mr Litvinenko, 43, died in University College Hospital, London, in November.

His body contained radioactive polonium-210.

Friends of Mr Litvinenko believe he was poisoned by the Russian government because of his strong criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin has dismissed suggestions it was involved in any way, and police in both the UK and Russia are investigating the death.

Banned book

Under the terms of Depp's production company the actor could both produce and star in the film, which will be based on Mr Cowell's book entitled Sasha's Story: The Life and Death of a Russian Spy.

Depp, star of Pirates of the Caribbean and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, has been following Mr Litvinenko's case closely, Variety reported.

The second film is based on the banned book former Mr Litvinenko sought to publish with historian Yuri Felshtinsky.

Interested parties in film rights to Blowing Up Russia are said to include Warner Brothers and Working Title Films.

Actors mooted for the role of Mr Litvinenko include John Malkovich and Daniel Craig, who recently starred in the latest James Bond film Casino Royale.

Blowing Up Russia, which contains an attack by Mr Litvinenko on his former spymasters in Moscow, will be published for the first time in English on 19 January.

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