Two years after the blazing success of The Night Manager, the BBC are back with another John le Carré adaptation. This time it’s The Little Drummer Girl, a six-part series based on the master spy writer’s novel.
Published in 1983 but set in 1979, the story follows Israeli spy Martin Kurtz (a wonderfully moustached Michael Shannon) who is working with a team to hunt down Palestinian terrorist Khalil. He recruits young British left-wing actress Charlie (Florence Pugh) as part of an elaborate plan, with the help of his enigmatic intelligence officer Joseph (Alexander Skarsgård).
In the hands of acclaimed director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, The Handmaiden) the series perfectly balances style and substance with a flawless 70s aesthetic as well as carefully captured complex characters and the controversial Israeli-Palestinian conflict as its political backdrop. Shannon and Skarsgård will certainly spark interest but it’s Pugh’s central performance as the very real, witty and fearless character of Charlie that draws you into this slow-burn espionage thriller, a surefire follow up to her breakout role in award-winning Lady Macbeth.
We sat down to catch up with the cast of the new series while they were in town for the London Film Festival.
Florence Pugh told us what drew her to the role of Charlie, what makes John le Carré’s writing so perfect for being adapted for the screen and how she sees roles for women in film currently.
Alexander Skarsgård spoke to us about how he sees his character Joseph, his experience of working with Pugh and making the adaptation across exotic locations and with a brilliant director and team.
Michael Shannon also chatted to us about playing Martin, the balance of style and substance achieved by Chan-wook and the potential for controversy over the film’s political backdrop, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 17th October 2018.
The Little Drummer Girl will air on BBC One at 9pm from 28th October 2018. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for The Little Drummer Girl here: