Variety reports that should a deal come together, this would fast-track the project to a February production start.
Jolie's participation is contingent on finding the right director and after meetings with several possibilities, von Donnersmarck was deemed the guy for the job on Friday night, insiders said. He hasn't formally entered into negotiations yet, however.
The Tourist would be the first directing vehicle for von Donnersmarck since his 2006 breakout The Lives of Others, which won the Academy Award for foreign-language film.
Jolie will play a female Interpol agent who draws an unwitting American tourist into her attempt to locate a criminal who was once her lover.