Apr 13, 2017

Tradecraft: William Hurt Among Cast for CONDOR Remake Series

Variety reports that the cast has been set for The Audience Network's TV series version of 3 Days of the Condor. (All the trades refer to it as being "inspired by" Sydney Pollack's iconic 1975 film, rather than adapted from James Grady's 1974 novel Six Days of the Condor (itself a cornerstone of the spy genre). Indeed, the series protagonist played by Max Irons is named Joe Turner, like in the film, and not Ronald Malcolm, as in the book. But the movie was close enough to its source material (despite a few key differences) that if the TV series is at all faithful to either, it should at least resemble both.

Joining the previously cast Max Irons (Crooked House) as Turner are Hollywood heavyweights William Hurt (The Accidental Tourist), Bob Balaban (Best in Show), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), and Brenden Fraser (The Quiet American). Anyone who's seen A History of Violence knows that Hurt would be a perfect choice to play the assassin originally portrayed so memorably by Max Von Sydow, a role it's absolutely crucial for the series to nail in order to succeed. (And a role that's actually much more interesting in the movie than in the book, where he is more of a generic hitman.) But... that's not who he's playing, unfortunately. That part will actually be played by 20-year-old Israeli Arab actress Leem Lubany. Lubany was very good in Rock the Casbah (2015) and scored great reviews for the Oscar-nominated Omar (2013)... but her casting in this part raises some alarm bells for me. I've got no problem with the gender flip, but the age is a different matter. Casting a sexy young star in the role certainly changes the part from Von Sydow's scene stealing elder statesman of murder for hire. And based on Deadline's description of her character, Gabrielle Joubert ("an elite Special Forces operative whose formidable physical talents are matched by a deep emotional imbalance"), the role sounds closer to the generic killer of the book than the fascinating enigma of the film. Which is too bad.

Hurt, meanwhile, will play what sounds like a variation on John Houseman's character from the film. Per Variety: "Bob Partridge [is] a decorated CIA field operative who is rusty and a little soft after 20 years behind a desk. He’s tried to make changes for the better while at the CIA, including recruiting a team of the country’s top young minds to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to some of the United States’ most intractable problems."

Balaban is career CIA administrator Reuel Abbott, a name I don't recall from either the book or the movie. Sorvino, according to a different Deadline story, "will play Marty Frost, an investigator who has come out of retirement to take over the investigation after an attack at Joe’s office." It sounds like her role may be inspired by Cliff Robertson's in the film.

Fraser, per yet another Deadline story, "will play Nathan Fowler, an unstable yet efficient central cog in an unholy alliance between the private military company that employs him and the CIA. He’s motivated by his hatred of radical Islam, but also by his inner child’s desire to win the approval of his war-hero father. Nathan is redeemed by his fierce love for his daughter, but that relationship and his fanaticism are on a collision course."

Katherine Cunningham (The Playboy Club) takes on the Faye Dunaway role of Kathy Hale (again using the character's movie name rather than book name), reimagined for our times as "a corporate lawyer who’s lonely and dissatisfied with her buttoned-up life." Kristoffer Polaha (Castle) plays another character from the movie, Turner's friend and colleague Sam Barber.

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