Mark Strong is set to star in espionage thriller Deep State, Fox Networks Group’s first regional scripted commission for Europe and Africa. The eight-episode hourlong original series (which previously was announced under the working title The Nine) is written by Matthew Parkhill (Rogue), Simon Maxwell (American Odyssey) and Steve Thompson (Sherlock, Dr Who) and will air in more than 50 countries via Fox.
The intense, character-driven espionage thriller is set in Britain, the U.S., Iran, Lebanon and France and shows the merciless reality of the world of espionage in which an increasingly rare conscience can get you, and the ones you love, killed.
Strong will play Max Easton, a man caught between two versions of himself — the past and the present. An ex-spy, Max is brought back into the game to avenge the death of his son, only to find himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy to profit from the spread of chaos throughout the Middle East.
Alongside Strong, breakthrough talent Karima McAdams (Fearless, Vikings) has joined to play Leyla Toumi, a smart and uncompromising elite intelligence operative.
Robert Connolly, the helmer behind ABC-BBC miniseries The Slap, will direct Episodes 1-4. Connolly recently directed Sam Worthington and Deborah Mailman starrer Paper Planes as well as political thriller Balibo, starring Oscar Isaac and Anthony LaPaglia.
Parkhill has written the pilot and will serve as showrunner. He also will direct four of the eight episodes and exec produce. Co-creator Maxwell will write and exec produce with Tom Nash producing for Endor Productions. Khadija Alami (Homeland, The Night Manager) produces for Moroccan-based K-Films. Hilary Bevan Jones, Alan Greenspan of 6 Degree Media and Helen Flint of Little Island Productions serve as exec producers alongside FNG’s Jeff Ford and Sara Johnson.
“Every now and again a script comes along that you just can’t put down, and Deep State is exactly that – a great example of the best kind of writing,” said Strong. “I’m incredibly proud to be working with FNG on their first regional scripted commission. They have put together an excellent team, and I’m very much looking forward to collaborating with Robert Connolly, Matthew Parkhill, Hilary Bevan Jones. With scripts from Matthew, Simon Maxwell and Steve Thompson, producers Tom Nash and Khadija Alami and with David Higgs as DoP and Pat Campbell designing, it makes this for me an unmissable opportunity to return to television.”
Deep State will begin shooting in May. Fox Networks Group Content Distribution holds exclusive global rights for the series, working in partnership with FNG Europe & Africa.
Strong is repped by Markham, Froggatt and Irwin in the UK and WME in the U.S.