Jul 29, 2013

Tradecraft: BBC and Sundance Channel Team on Spy Miniseries The Honourable Woman (UPDATED)

The Hollywood Reporter reports that a stellar ensemble has been assembled for The Honourable Woman, a new eight-part spy thriller co-produced by BBC2 and Sundance Channel. Maggy Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight) plays the titular woman, Nessa Stein. She's joined by Stephen Rea (The Shadow Line), Janet McTeer (Parade's End), Tobias Menzies (Casino Royale), Lindsay Duncan (Spy, MI-5), Andrew Buchan (The Fixer), Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd) and Lubna Azabal (Body of Lies) in a cast said to include nearly 100 parts. The Honourable Woman is written by Hugo Blick, creator of the 2011 quasi-spy conspiracy thriller The Shadow Line. According to a previous Hollywood Reporter article, the story follows Nessa Stein, "daughter of a Zionist arms procurer who as a child witnessed his assassination. Now an adult, Nessa inherits her father's company and changes course from supplying arms to laying data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank." The Independent takes up the synopsis, adding that Nessa "enters the House of Lords after years of charity work in the Middle East, only to become caught up in an international conspiracy with the secret service at her heels." The Honourable Woman is scheduled to be broadcast in the UK on BBC2 and in the U.S. on Sundance Channel in 2014.

UPDATE: Deadline has additional information on the spy roles some of these actors will be playing, plus further casting announcements. According to the trade blog, Rea co-stars as Hugh Hayden-Hoyle, "a top MI6 spy on the verge of retirement, digging deep into the family of Nessa Stein." Duncan plays Hugh's bitter ex-wife Anjelica. McTeer plays the head of MI6, Julia Walsh, "who has a personal hold over Hayden-Hoyle." Eve Best (another Shadow Line vet not previously announced) is Monica Chatwin, "a key MI6 agent from the Washington Bureau – spoiling for a fight with her UK counterparts." Buchan is Nessa's brother Ephra Stein ("seemingly overshadowed by his sister within the family business"), and Parkinson plays Ephra's "highly strung pregnant wife Rachel Stein."  Azabal plays Atika Halibi, "nanny to Ephra and Rachel Stein’s two young daughters and close friend to Nessa." Menzies (who also played Ian Fleming in Any Human Heart) plays "Nessa’s trusted personal body guard Nathaniel Bloom." Finally, Deadline adds that Genevieve O’Reilly (MI-5) plays "Nessa’s loyal personal assistant Frances" and Israeli actor Igal Naor (Green Zone) plays Shlomo Zahary, "a close long-time ally of the Stein family."

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