UPDATE, WRITETHRU with screenwriter details: Following their collaboration on award-winning miniseries The Night Manager, partners the Ink Factory, BBC One and AMC are reteaming for another John le Carré adaptation, The Little Drummer Girl. Florence Pugh has been set to lead the espionage thriller with Korean master Park Chan-wook directing in his TV debut. Production begins in January with global sales handled by Endeavor Content/IMG.
Based on the le Carré bestseller, the six-part drama is set in the 1970s as a young, brilliant actress prepares for her ultimate role in the theater of the real, and against the backdrop of rising tensions in the Middle East. The series promises high-stakes international intrigue, love and betrayal. The book was published in 1983.
Deadline has learned that the adaptation includes draft scripts penned by Apple Tree Yard‘s Amanda Coe, who has moved on from the series to pursue her own upcoming projects, which include BBC One’s The Trial of Christine Keeler. Additional writers will be joining The Little Drummer Girl.
“Of le Carré’s many masterpieces, the one I love ahead of any other is The Little Drummer Girl,” Park said. “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.” He called Pugh “the most energetic young female actor I have seen recently.”
Simon and Stephen Cornwell, founders and co-CEOs of the Ink Factory, call the book one of their father’s best and say Park’s “passion for the project and his vision are utterly compelling.”
The Ink Factory is financing and producing in partnership with 127 Wall and co-producers the BBC and AMC. Laura Hastings-Smith is producer with Simon and Stephen Cornwell exec producing alongside le Carré, Mona Qureshi for the BBC, Joe Tsai and Arthur Wang for 127, and Wonjo Jeong.
Pugh recently starred in indie Lady Macbeth and last week was nominated as Best Actress by the British Independent Film Awards and the European Film Awards. She recently wrapped Stephen Merchant’s Fighting With My Family, is shooting David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King and playing Cordelia in BBC/Amazon’s King Lear with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. She’s repped by WME and Julian Belfrage Associates.
Park is one of the best known Korean filmmakers worldwide. His credits include The Handmaiden, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance. He is repped by Industry Entertainment and WME.
Le Carré is repped by Jonny Geller and Nick Marston at Curtis Brown.
The production team on The Little Drummer Girl includes production designer Maria Djurkovic (The Imitation Game, The Hours), DP Woo-hyung Kim (The Taste of Money), casting director Jina Jay (Darkest Hour, Rogue One), costume designer Steven Noble (A Monster Calls) and supervising editor Lucia Zucchetti (The Queen).
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.