The Rook is a supernatural spy drama – a genre particularly suited to be made by “naturally duplicitous” Brits, according to exec producer Stephen Garrett. Character Seven boss Garrett, who co-founded Broadchurch producer Kudos, also discussed the departure of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer from the Starz drama.
The Rook tells the story of Myfanwy Thomas (Emma Greenwell), who wakes up in the rain beside London’s Millennium Bridge with no memory of who she is and no way to explain the circle of latex-gloved dead bodies splayed around her. When Thomas discovers she is a high-ranking official in the Checquy, Britain’s last truly secret service for people with paranormal abilities, she will have to navigate the dangerous and complex world of the agency to uncover who wiped her memory – and why she is a target.
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Garrett said Brits are particularly good at spy stories such as James Bond and John Le Carre characters because they “like secrets” and that merging these ideas with supernatural themes was a “heady mix for great drama”.
“London’s full of spies,” he said, prompting star Olivia Munn to become disappointed that she hadn’t met any when she was filming there.
Greenwell and Munn are joined by stars including Joely Richardson, Catherine Steadman, Ronan Raftery and Jon Fletcher. It is based on the novel by Daniel O’Malley, adapted and co-produced by playwrights and screenwriters Sam Holcroft (Rules for Living) and Al Muriel (Precious & Rich) and exec produced by Karyn Usher and Lisa Zwerling alongside Garrett.
Meyer initially was involved in the project, which then was touted as one of her first moves into television. However, she departed last year, replaced by Usher and Zwerling. Garrett told Deadline that Meyer departed on good terms.
“There comes a point when things have taken a [different] direction and you part company but you part company as friends” he told Deadline. “It’s couched as creative differences, which sounds like it’s disguising fistfights in parking lots, and that isn’t what happened. It really wasn’t a hideous process — it was a natural evolution of different possibilities of the idea and Stephenie, in a very grown-up, supportive way, decided to move on,.”
The Rook premieres in summer 2019.
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