Apr 4, 2018

Tradecraft: UK Period Spy Drama JERUSALEM Casts Up, Lands Director

Deadline reports that actors Emma Appleton (The Nun), Michael Stuhlbarg (The Looming Tower, The Shape of Water), Keeley Hawes (Spooks/MI-5), Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights), and Luke Treadaway (Ordeal by Innocence) have been cast in Channel 4's 6-episode period spy series Jerusalem (no relation to the 2013 contemporary spy movie Jerusalem). As the trade previously reported, Jerusalem, from Boardwalk Empire and Masters of Sex veteran Bash Doran, follows Feef Symonds (Appleton), "a bold 20-something woman who joins the Civil Service in 1945, just as the Labour party sweeps to victory, defeating Winston Churchill in an unexpected landslide. Her ambition to make something of her life goes unrecognized by her family, and is further complicated by her American lover."

"Feef agrees to spy on her own government for the Americans, who have a hidden agenda in making sure England’s burgeoning Socialist ambitions don’t play into Soviet hands. Struggling to work out what she stands for, and what she’s capable of, Feef must learn to think for herself and play by her own rules at a time when knowledge becomes power and nothing and no one is what they seem." Lauria stars as Feef's American lover Peter, Stuhlbarg plays an American zealot named Rowe, Hawes plays Feef’s demanding civil service superior, and Treadaway plays a newly elected Labour MP.

While this setting and these characters have all the makings of a great spy series, they are also personal to the writer, who tells Deadline that Jerusalem is, "my perspective on a defining moment in British history when the nation was divided and there was a fight for Britain’s soul. I left England for America not long after I graduated. This show has always been for me an exploration of why I left and my way of coming home."

In a separate story, Deadline also reports that Dearbhla Walsh has been hired to direct. Walsh has experience helming both U.S. and UK television, including episodes of Penny Dreadful, Fargo, The Punisher, and Shameless. She directed all five episodes of the acclaimed 2008 BBC miniseries Little Dorrit.

No American broadcast partner has yet been announced, but with so many names both in front of and behind the camera known to U.S. audiences, such a deal seems inevitable.

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