Tony Sokol

Nov 9, 2017

The spy beat goes on, as AMC rolls out John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl. Florence Pugh will star and Park Chan-wook will direct.

You can shake them, stir them or have them fill the minibar in swanky hotels like The Night Manager, but British spies never go out of style. 

Emmy-winning partners The Ink Factory, BBC One and AMC will reteam to adapt espionage master John le Carré’s novel The Little Drummer Girl. It’ll be directed by Korean director Park Chan-wook in his TV debut.

Set in the 1970s, the six part miniseries will star Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth) as a “young, brilliant actress” who is getting ready for “her ultimate role” in the “theater of the real” against the backdrop of rising tensions in the Middle East.

“On holiday in Mykonos, Charlie wants only sunny days and a brief escape from England’s bourgeois dreariness,” reads the 1983 book’s official synopsis on Amazon. “Then a handsome stranger lures the aspiring actress away from her pals–but his intentions are far from romantic. Joseph is an Israeli intelligence officer, and Charlie has been wooed to flush out the leader of a Palestinian terrorist group responsible for a string of deadly bombings. Still uncertain of her own allegiances, she debuts in the role of a lifetime as a double agent in the ‘theatre of the real.’”

The Little Drummer Girl was commissioned by the BBC’s Charlotte Moore and Piers Wenger, AMC/Sundance TV’s Kristin Jones, and AMC/Sundance TV/AMC Studios’ David Madden. BBC, which adapted the le Carre novel, The Night Manager, will also air a series based on the book The Spy Who Came In From The Cold in the coming months.

“Personally speaking, I read the book when it was published in the 1980s, and it’s frightening and thought-provoking to recognize how relevant the story still is today,” David Madden, President of Original Programming for AMC, Sundance TV and AMC Studios, said in a statement. “Florence Pugh is a gifted actress who will make a stunning Charlie, and Park is a filmmaker of extraordinary vision whose entry into the world of le Carré-style espionage should be irresistible.”

Pugh recently starred in the independent film Lady Macbeth. She was nominated Best Actress by the British Independent Film Awards and the European Film Awards last week, and she recently finished shooting Stephen Merchant’s Fighting With My Family

Park, who helmed Old Boy, The Handmaiden, Stoker, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, and Lady Vengeance, is one of the best known Korean filmmakers worldwide.

“Of le Carré’s many masterpieces, the one I love ahead of any other is The Little Drummer Girl,” Park said in a statement. “At the core of this story is an extremely painful but thrilling romance. This is what makes the story universal, reaching beyond borders and languages and remaining incredibly current.”

George Roy Hill (Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid) directed the big screen adaption of The Little Drummer Girl starring Diane Keaton in 1984. Le Carre’s books have also been adapted into the films The Tailor Of Panama (2001), The Constant Gardener (2005), and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).

The Little Drummer Girl is set to go into production in January 2018.