Christian Bale has passed on an offer to star in "Child 44" for Scott Free Productions and director Daniel Espinosa, a person familiar with the negotiations has confirmed to TheWrap.
Bale met with the filmmakers Tuesday to declare his intentions with regards to the project.
Set in the 1950's, the story revolves around a member of the Soviet military police, investigating a series of nasty child murders. He becomes the target of his government's suspicion and paranoia.
Richard Price is writing the script, which is based on the British novelist Tom Rob Smith's book of the same name.
Ridley Scott is producing and Lionsgate/Summit are no longer involved in the project.
At the center of the story is Leo Demidov, a disgraced lawyer in the Stalin-era Soviet Union who is assigned to investigate the murders. The book is based on the true story of the Ukrainian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who was executed for 52 murders.
The first publication in a trilogy exploring the impact of Stalin on the Soviet Union, the book was first picked up by Fox and Ridley Scott was once attached to direct.
Espinosa's previous credits include "Snabba Cash" and the Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds action film "Safe House."
Bale's recent credits include "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Fighter." He is repped by WME.