Cumming is the second name to emerge for the mysterious group of scribes after Deadline revealed in November that up-and-coming British writer Matthew Orton is on board to pen The Ink Factory-produced second season of the John Le Carré spy thriller.
Orton and Cumming are understood to make up two of the four writers that are working on the series, which has not been officially picked up by British public broadcaster BBC One or U.S. cable network AMC. In fact, The Ink Factory are being increasingly coy about the show’s return, although as one source close to the company remarked, given that it’s a spy drama, it’s no surprise it’s under wraps.
Complicating matters is the fact that Le Carré did not write a sequel to The Night Manager and he has been loathe to allow TV producers or filmmakers the opportunity to expand on his work without a book. However, given that his sons, Simon and Stephen Cornwell, run The Ink Factory, they might be able to get around this.
Cumming told the Daily Mail, “Le Carré has never allowed one of his stories to have a [film or TV] sequel that is not based on a novel. So our job is to write a season that’s going to be even better than the first one, but also stay faithful to the tone of the world that was created by le Carré and to the characters.”
It comes more than a year after Susanne Bier, who directed the first season, said that a follow-up was “slowly being developed” but that the creators were taking their time to make sure series two “lives up” to the first series, which was written by David Farr.
The first season featured Tom Hiddleston as enigmatic Jonathan Pine, who goes undercover to expose billionaire arms dealer Richard Roper, played by Hugh Laurie. Hiddleston has also said he would consider appearing in a second season, but it’s unlikely the entire cast, which also featured Olivia Colman and Elizabeth Debicki, would return. For one, Tom Hollander’s Corky is no longer, having been killed by Jonathan Pine.
Cumming, who was promoting his novel The Man Between, didn’t give many clues, but added, “All I am permitted to say is that Le Carré has given his blessing to the project. The four of us in the writers’ room are sworn to silence. Some characters that the audience know and love will be returning, other will not. The locations will be sumptuous, the plot as thrilling and as thematically complex as a Le Carré story should be. We are all aware that the bar has been set very high in terms of audience expectations. The challenge facing us is to meet those expectations, hopefully even to surpass them.”