ByDalton Tevlin, writer at
One Batch, Two Batch, Penny And A Dime

Yesterday we luckily we got to see a new trailer for American Ultra starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. The film revolves around the premise of the U.S. government planting 'sleeper agents' into our own quiet communities to use as future assets. The main focus of the film is that anyone around us can be one of these sleeper agents at any time. This idea plays out in the form of Eisenberg's character, Mike Howell. Mike is basically your stereotypical stoner with a mediocre job as a store clerk. Or so he thinks. Mike's actually a super agent who was brainwashed by the government. Mike is, as of yet, totally unaware of his role as a government operative. Hence being called a 'sleeper agent.' This eventually leads to a conflict with the military devision that he once belonged to, more specifically, a conflict with Adrian Yates, Topher Grace's character, who seems to be at the head of the sleeper agent program.

With an unorthodox twist to your average action-conspiracy film, American Ultra definitely looks like it will be a unique espionage flick.

Get high on excitement for the movie with the trailer below:

What Is a Sleeper Agent?

Believe it or not, sleeper agents are a very real thing. Yes, the concept has been used countless times throughout various spy-themed films, but the idea isn't one that a script writer came up with; it was based off of real events. A sleeper agent, known simply as a 'sleeper' is a covert operative sent to infiltrate enemy territory and pose as an everyday citizen. The agent discontinues any further contact with their agency and goes to 'sleep,' or undercover. Many agents go on to live very successful lives separate from their past profession, or many 'wake' up for certain specialized tasks and become 'agents of influence.'


Do you think that 'sleeper agents' are real?

Real Life Sleeper Agents?

There are several very real incidences of a government found conducting sleeper agent operations. Many of these people appear to be the most average to the public eye, but masters of espionage behind the closed doors of their seemingly dull homes.

Bernard Julius Otto Kuehn

Otto Kuehn was a Sleeper Agent for Nazi Germany who worked closely with the Minister of Public Enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels, and Japanese intelligence in Hawaii. Not only was Otto heavily involved in the war, his entire family was, too.

Otto's son stated that at 11 years old his father made him memorize questions to ask crew members of the ships he boarded to learn more about the vessels. Otto's job was to obtain crucial information about the ships that were docked in Pearl Harbor, top of the list was to learn the essential and busy areas of the ships. Otto would relay the information about the ships and their weaknesses to the Japanese government, going completely unnoticed until after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Otto, along with his wife and daughter, spent time in prison. Later going back to their home country of Germany.

Kim Philby

Kim Philby is possibly the most prolific sleeper agent of all time. Kim was part of the notorious Cambridge Five. Philby was working as a double agent for the Soviet Union, infiltrating British intelligence. Kim Philby fed the Soviet Union the Brit's secrets for years until he defected to Moscow in 1963. Kim is what is known as an 'agent of influence,' being a sleeper with a great deal of power. His betrayal of the British people went down as one of the largest scandals ever. To the British, Kim is a coward and a traitor, but in Soviet Russia he was celebrated as a hero.

The Illegals Program

'The Illegals Program' is perhaps the biggest ring of sleeper agents in all of history. Russia recruited regular seeming individuals to pose as U.S. citizens with the task of providing Russia with important information about the United States. As of today, around 10 of these agents have been captured, pleading guilty to their crimes. While these agents didn't seem to know one another, they were all a part of the most widespread sleeper agent networks on recorded.

Sleepers are among us, my friends. American Ultra seems to bring a very comical twist to a dark and secretive sect of the government, and I'm totally ready for the thrill but chill ride.

The show The Americans also takes inspiration from 'The Illegals Program.' Check out the Season 1 promo:

American Ultra is in theaters August 21!


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