When the project was announced in 2013, Darren Aronofsky was in talks to direct it. Aronofsky dropped out in 2014, and in the same year, David Fincher and Rooney Mara were in talks to direct and star in the film, respectively. In July 2015, it was reported that Francis Lawrence was in talks to direct the film. In September 2015, Jennifer Lawrence was announced in the lead role with Francis Lawrence as the director.
Based on a 2013 novel of the same name by retired CIA operative Jason Matthews. Before the novel was even finished, Matthews sold the film rights for a seven figure sum. The novel is the first book in a trilogy, with the others being Palace of Treason and The Kremlin's Candidate.