Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce direct the limited series Cold War “Spy Among Friends” for Spectrum Originals and BritBox UK
Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce lead drama limited series Cold War A spy among friends.
Spectrum Originals and BritBox UK have commissioned the serial adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s book. It comes more than a year after Deadline first revealed the project, which then had Dominic West set to star alongside Lewis.
This is Lewis’s first gig since leaving Showtime Billion this week.
The series began production in London this week and will also be filmed in Romania. It is produced by Sony Pictures Television, ITV Studios and Veritas Entertainment Group, with the former Country executive producer Alexander Cary creator and executive producer alongside Lewis; through his production company, Ginger Biscuit Entertainment; and Patrick Spence of ITV Studios.
It will air in fall 2022 via Spectrum’s on-demand platform in the US and UK via streamer BritBox, a joint venture between the BBC and ITV.
A spy among friends follows the defection of famed British intelligence officer and KGB double agent Kim Philby, played by Mare of Easttown’s Pearce, through the prism of his complex relationship with fellow MI6 colleague and close friend Nicholas Elliott (Lewis). The show examines espionage through their friendship, the fallout of which has affected East-West relations to this day.
2020-21 Spectrum Originals Pilots & Serial Controls
Philby was a British spy who notoriously defected to the Soviet Union in the 1950s, betraying secrets to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War. He and Elliott entered the spy game together, but as they rose through the ranks of MI6, Philby became a double agent.
Anna Maxwell Martin (Mother land), Stephen Kunken (Billion) and Adrian Edmondson (Back to life) also star.
The limited series is produced and directed by Nick Murphy (A Christmas Carol) and produced by Chrissy Skinns (The last kingdom). Bob Bookman, Alan Gasmer and Peter Jaysen are executive producers of Veritas Entertainment Group.
“How could I resist the opportunity to dramatize the true story of Nicholas Elliott and Kim Philby – two longtime spies and friends, one of whom betrayed the other from the start?” Cary said. “A friendship that led to the destruction of British and American intelligence services at the height of the Cold War and shaped the playing field for the dangerous game against Russia that we are still trying to win today. Macintyre’s books on spies of recent history are relevant and fascinating because they examine the broad universal themes of human behavior that drive individuals among us, and like us, to excel in the murky world of espionage and, for better or worse, leave a lasting impact on the world. “
Said Katherine Pope, Head of Spectrum Originals: “I am incredibly excited to be working with BritBox UK and ITV Studios as well as our partners at Sony on this project. This emotional thriller examines espionage through a deeply personal lens, and we’re blessed to be in the hands of the brilliant Alex Cary, Nick Murphy, Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce whose dedication will make for a distinctly special series.
Lauren Stein, Executive Vice President of Drama Development at Sony Pictures Television, added, “Alex and I have worked together over the years, so I was thrilled when we finally brought him into the Sony family. A spy among friends was the first project he brought us and with the combination of Alex’s creative vision and the talent of Damian and Guy, we immediately knew it was a dream project. I couldn’t be more excited to be working on something so special.
Lewis said: “I am delighted to produce and star in A spy among friends. These fabulous Alex Cary scripts take a close look at friendship – a friendship that has been blinded by love, class, and membership in the right clubs and ended in the betrayal and death of thousands of people. It has been a fantastic creative process that has developed To spy, and now I can’t wait to start filming with Guy and all the other brilliant actors who have happily agreed to join us.
Pearce added: “It is an honor to be a part of this exciting project. I’ve always been fascinated by the fascinating history of MI6, and taking this trip with Damian makes it all the more brilliant. I am also very happy to be working again with the wonderful and talented Nick Murphy.