Oct 14, 2019

USA Shares Amazing TREADSTONE Clip on Eve of Premiere

USA's Bourne spin-off series Treadstone premieres tomorrow night. While I've been surprised by the paucity of advertising in the real world, the network has released many, many clips online over the past month--enough, seemingly, to create a fairly good assembly cut of the pilot episode! But they've saved the best for last. A clip with an extended fight scene and a chase across European rooftops shared today by the International Spy Museum really demonstrates that they appear to have captured the tone and feel of Doug Liman's 2002 movie The Bourne Identity. (The lead actor also seems to have been cast at least partly for bearing a slight resemblance to Matt Damon.) This has me very excited to sample the series tomorrow night! Watch the clip here.

Read my review of the novel that started it all, Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity, here.

Treadstone premieres on Tuesday, October 15, at 10/9c on USA.

Oct 13, 2019

John le Carré Teases New Smiley TV Series, Potentially Starring Jared Harris

In a great profile in Saturday's New York Times promoting his new novel Agent Running in the Field, author John le Carré  reveals that his sons' production company, The Ink Factory, are plotting an epic new TV series about his most famous character, spymaster George Smiley. "According to le Carré," asserts the article's author, Tobias Grey, "The Ink Factory now plans to do new television adaptations of all the novels featuring Cold War spy George Smiley - this time in chronological order. 'That means that if you actually go back to the first big conspiracies in The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, you've got to consider how Smiley ages and how young he was at that time,' le Carré says. That would mean finding an actor who can play younger than the Smiley incarnated by Gary Oldman in the film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Le Carré says that his sons are interested in casting the British actor Jared Harris, whose performance they all admired in the recent TV mini-series Chernobyl." Harris (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Allied), interestingly, was originally cast in Tomas Alfredson's 2011 le Carré  adaptation Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as Circus (MI6) chief Percy Alleline, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, in which he played Professor Moriarty. Toby Jones took on the Alleline role, and embodied the character perfectly. Besides Oldman, Smiley has been played in the past by Denholm Elliott, James Mason, Rupert Davies, and, most memorably, Alec Guinness in two famous BBC miniseries.

A new miniseries version of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold was first announced back in 2016 as a follow-up to the hugely successful le Carré miniseries The Night Manager. Le Carré worked with the producers and writer to crack their take on the material, and that work led him to write a whole new sequel to the book, A Legacy of Spies, but did not yield a series. Instead, The Little Drummer Girl (2018) proved to be the next le Carré miniseries, but work continued on The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. Now, apparently, that project has grown in scope and morphed into this one. I've long craved a long-form TV series about le Carré's Circus, devoting a season to each book and dropping in the short stories from The Secret Pilgrim at the appropriate historical moments and, most crucially, finally giving us a television version of the (to date unfilmed) middle book in the Karla trilogy, The Honourable Schoolboy. This sounds like it could turn out to be exactly that! (Though hopefully they'll begin at the real beginning with Call For the Dead, and not The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.) It's a most tantalizing prospect!

Read my George Smiley Primer here.

Oct 5, 2019

First Poster for NO TIME TO DIE, Daniel Craig's Last Outing as James Bond

I've never quite understood the concept of "James Bond Day" (or "Global James Bond Day?"). But maybe that's because since I was 11, I don't think there's been any day I haven't thought about James Bond! Maybe there are people out there who need reminding? Anyway, to mark this year's James Bond Day, MGM and EON have released the first poster for Daniel Craig's final outing as Bond, No Time To Die. No Time To Die, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and starring Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas, Jeffrey Wright, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Billy Magnussen, David Dencik, and Rory Kinnear, opens in the U.S. on April 8, 2020.

Oct 4, 2019

Tradecraft: Jamie Bell Joins Clancy Adaptation WITHOUT REMORSE

It looks like this time, Paramount's decades-held hopes of making a movie out of Tom Clancy's epic saga Without Remorse are really going to happen! Last month, Variety reported that Jamie Bell will join the previously announced Michael B. Jordan (playing frequent Clancy hero John Clark) in the movie from director Stefano Sollima (helmer of the very Clancy-esque Sicario: Day of the Soldado). Bell will play a familiar character from the Tom Clancy universe, CIA Deputy Director of Operations Robert Ritter. Henry Czerny memorably essayed the role in 1994's Clear and Present Danger, in which Willem Dafoe played Clark.

Today, several more actors joined the cast, making this Without Remorse more and more of a reality! (Forgive my incredulity. It's just hard to believe this movie is finally happening after literally decades of development!) Deadline reports that Luke Mitchell (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Jacob Scipio (Bad Boys For Life), Cam Gigandet (Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden), Jack Kesy (12 Strong), and Todd Lasance (Spartacus) are all signing on as members of Clark's SEAL team. Nearly all of them have played special forces operators before. Additionally, Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship, The Neon Demon) has been cast as a potential love interest for Jordan.

According to the trade, "Without Remorse is the origin story of John Clark, played by Jordan, a Navy SEAL-turned-CIA ops officer, who seeks revenge after his girlfriend is killed by a Baltimore drug lord." That sounds more or less like the novel, so if this capsule summary comes from the studio (and not just a Deadline writer Wikipedia-ing the book), then perhaps we can expect a fairly faithful adaptation. What I'm guessing we won't get is a period piece. I doubt Clark will serve in Vietnam in this version; I suspect they'll make it contemporary. (This was the plan back when Tom Hardy was supposed to play Clark in a series intended to cross over with Chris Pine's intended Jack Ryan franchise.) Paramount are very eager to launch a new film franchise with this movie, already eyeing Clancy's Rainbow Six as a follow-up. Also unclear is whether there will be any crossover with Amazon's Jack Ryan TV series, which hails from the same producers. The Clark character has been kept out of that series so far because of the percolating film franchise, but that doesn't necessarily preclude a cameo from John Krasinski in Without Remorse....

Without Remorse is slated to open September 18, 2020.