EXCLUSIVE: One day after finding its Alex Rider, Sony Pictures Television has rounded out the full cast for its adaptation of the teen superspy drama. Game of Thrones star Brenock O’Connor and Stephen Dillane are starring alongside Doctor Who’s Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Broadchurch’s Andrew Buchan and Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure.
O’Connor, who plays Olly in the HBO drama, stars as Alex Rider’s jovial best friend Tom. The Rider household consists of Alex’s housekeeper Jack Starbright, played by Adékoluẹjo, and Ian Rider, his detached uncle and reluctant guardian, played by Buchan. Unbeknownst to Alex, Ian has been relentlessly training him since childhood and preparing him for the threatening world of espionage.
Alex and Tom lead ordinary teenage lives, navigating between school, girls and social lives until Alex’s world is quickly capsized as he is coerced by Alan Blunt, played by Dillane, to undergo a dangerous, covert mission. Blunt commands The Department, a secret underworld offshoot of MI6, where Ian Rider spent his life as a field agent. Blunt entraps the unsuspecting Alex to work as an undercover agent at the Point Blanc academy.
McClure, who also starred in This Is England, plays Blunt’s second-in-command Mrs Jones, seeking to keep Alex from danger where possible. She is aided by colleagues John Crawley, played by Bohemian Rhapsody’s Ace Bhatti, and Smithers, played by Casual’s Nyasha Hatendi.
The series is set in both London and The French Alps, where the Point Blanc school is remotely situated. All the students at Point Blanc are troubled teenagers whose parents run successful global businesses, and have found themselves as outsiders due to their upbringing.
The Academy is supposedly there to correct their unruly behavior, and becomes home to Kyra, played by The Sopranos’ Marli Siu, who hacked the Tokyo stock exchange costing millions of dollars, James, played by The End of the Fxxking World’s Earl Cave who shot his private tutor with an air rifle, and mysterious others such as Laura, played by Snatch’s Katrin Vankova, Arrash, played by Tyrant’s Nathan Clarke and Sasha, played by The Feed’s Talitha Wing.
The teenagers are monitored by corrupt principal, Dr. Greif, played by Halloween’s Haluk Bilginer and his manipulative deputy Eva Stellenbosh, played by Siberia’s Ana Ularu.
Alex, undercover as a troubled teenager, has to call upon skills he didn’t even know he had, as he investigates the sinister truth behind Point Blanc – questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. Yesterday, Deadline revealed that Mrs Wilson star Otto Farrant was chosen to play Rider. Farrant previously had small roles in ITV and Netflix drama Marcella, War & Peace, The White Queen and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
Eight-part series Alex Rider is fully financed and in production after Sony Pictures Television’s International Production and Worldwide Distribution divisions teamed up for the first time to greenlight the series.
The novels, written by Foyle’s War creator Horowitz, chart the adventures of a reluctant teen superspy on his missions to save the world. The latest book in the Alex Rider series, Secret Weapon, was published earlier this month; the books have sold over 19 million copies and are particularly popular among young adult male readers. Alex Rider was previously adapted as a feature film in 2006 with The Weinstein Company.
The television adaptation does not currently have a broadcaster attached. The series is written by The Borgias and The Hole writer Guy Burt and will begin with Point Blanc, the second book in the series. EHF’s Eve Gutierrez and Jill Green will executive produce the TV series alongside Horowitz and Burt. Das Boot and The Dark Valley director Andreas Prochaska is directing.
Horowitz said, “This really seems to be Alex’s year with the 20th anniversary approaching, a new novel on the way and now this brilliant TV series, which I hope will appeal to everyone who grew up with the books”
Prochaska said, “On reading Guy Burt’s terrific scripts I was immediately gripped by their bold combination of tender coming-of-age story and international spy thriller. Guy has really done justice to Anthony Horowitz‘s wonderful source material. I could immediately connect with the characters and I felt that this would be something that I would really enjoy making and then watching with my sons, the youngest one being 16, the oldest 35.”
Eleventh Hour Films’ Jill Green added, “This eight-part adventure allows us to dig deep into the legend that is Alex Rider. He is both an ordinary teenager that everyone can relate to and an undercover agent plunged into a dark and dangerous world. There’s something for everyone in this thrilling series.”