The upcoming adaptation of John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl has brought in some additional intensity in the form of Michael Shannon. The Academy Award-nominated actor, who can currently be seen in this year’s most nominated film The Shape of Water, has been cast to star alongside Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård in the period drama that will mark the television debut of Old Boy director Park Chan-wook.
With a lineup like that, The Little Drummer Girl stands to be the most anticipated of the le Carré adaptations currently in the works. Pugh is coming off the high marks she earned for her role in the 2016 film Lady Macbeth, which was followed up with roles in Liam Neeson’s The Commuter, as well as alongside Dwayne Johnson in the upcoming wrestling film Fighting With My Family. Skarsgård, meanwhile, has been enjoying his time on the awards circuit, earning an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild award for his performance as the abusive Perry Wright in HBO’s Big Little Lies.
Shannon, who can also currently be seen in Paramount Network’s Waco, joins the 70s-set miniseries as Martin Kurtz, the Israeli spymaster responsible for recruiting Pugh’s Charlie, a young actress traveling abroad in Greece. While there, she finds herself ensnared in an increasingly complex plot orchestrated by Skarsgård and Shannon’s characters. The character of Kurtz seems tailor made for an actor like Shannon, and the series’ director appears to agree.
"The first time I saw Michael was as one of the genius actors who delivered wonderful performances in Revolutionary Road, and ever since I’ve remained his loyal fan. I believe Michael will make the perfect Kurtz, a man scarred by history and carrying burdens all too heavy on his shoulders, an Israeli 'Captain Ahab’ obsessed by his biggest and most elusive nemesis yet.”
The Little Drummer Girl is just one le Carré novel currently being adapted into a miniseries. The other, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold is rumored to feature former Game of Thrones master manipulator Aidan Gillen. This new wave of adaptations comes in the wake of The Night Manager’s success, a 2016 miniseries starring Olivia Colman,Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Debicki, and Hugh Laurie, that is expected to receive a follow-up soon.
Unlike The Night Manager, both The Little Drummer Girl and The Spy Who Came In From the Cold will retain their original '60s and '70s settings. That will allow each production to dabble in some period setting artistry but also explore the political climate at the time in contrast to the present-day state of affairs. That, along with the stellar cast being assembled and the promise of new work from Chan-wook, makes The Little Drummer Girl one of the most anticipated series to hit television next year.
The Little Drummer Girl is expected on BBC and AMC in 2019.