First look at Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon in Park Chan-wook's 'The Little Drummer Girl'

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
Alexander Skarsgård is Becker and Michael Shannon is Kurtz in <em>The Little Drummer Girl</em>. (BBC One/AMC)
Alexander Skarsgård is Becker and Michael Shannon is Kurtz in The Little Drummer Girl. (BBC One/AMC)

BBC One and AMC have released the first images from Park Chan-wook’s hotly anticipated adaptation of John Le Carre’s spy thriller The Little Drummer Girl.

The 6-part miniseries, based on Le Carre’s best-selling 1983 novel, marks the television debut of the visionary director of Oldboy, Thirst, and The Handmaiden who has directs all 6 hours of the show. It also features a lot of behind-the-scenes talent from BBC One’s The Night Manager.

The first images offer a great look at the director’s visual style and the limited series’ evocative 1970s setting.

The show stars Florence Pugh (Lady MacBeth) as Charlie, a young actress who makes acquaintances with Becker, an Israeli spy (Alexander Skarsgård) while on holiday in Greece. However, his spymaster Kurtz (Michael Shannon) is the one pulling the strings, and he entangles her in a high stakes plot.

Alexander Skarsgård and Florence Pugh in the 70s-set BBC One thriller <i>The Little Drummer Girl</i> (BBC One/AMC)
Alexander Skarsgård and Florence Pugh in the 70s-set BBC One thriller The Little Drummer Girl (BBC One/AMC)

The book was adapted as a feature film in 1984 with Diane Keaton in the lead role. Speaking at the Television Critics Association (TCA) this weekend, Le Carre’s brother Simon Cornwell, who is producing The Little Drummer Girl, admitted he was “disappointed” with the Keaton film.

“I don’t think anyone was interested in duplicating it,” Pugh added.

The Little Drummer Girl is expected to air on BBC One later this year.

Alexander Skarsgård is an Israeli spy in <i>The Little Drummer Girl</i>. (BBC One/AMC)
Alexander Skarsgård is an Israeli spy in The Little Drummer Girl. (BBC One/AMC)

Here’s the official synopsis:

The international thriller marks the television debut of visionary film maker Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, The Handmaiden, Stoker). The award-winning director will helm all six hours bringing his epic cinematic sensibility to the small screen.

‘The Little Drummer Girl’ stars Screen Actor’s Guild, Emmy® and Golden Globe Award-Winner Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies, True Blood, Tarzan) as Becker. Twice Academy Award® nominated Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water, Nocturnal Animals) will take on the role of Kurtz and BAFTA nominated Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth) will play Charlie. Global sales on the six-part series are handled by Endeavor Content/IMG.

L-R: Simona Brown, Michael Moshonov, and Michael Shannon. (BBC One/AMC)
L-R: Simona Brown, Michael Moshonov, and Michael Shannon. (BBC One/AMC)

Brilliant young actress Charlie (Pugh) strikes up an acquaintance with an intriguing stranger while on holiday in Greece, but it rapidly becomes apparent that his intentions are far from romantic. The man is Becker (Skarsgård), an Israeli intelligence officer, who entangles her in a complex and high stakes plot orchestrated by Spymaster, Kurtz (Shannon). Set in the late 1970s yet sharply contemporary, ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ weaves a dynamic and exciting story of espionage and international intrigue; of love and betrayal.

Prime-Time Emmy® nominated Jina Jay (The Night Manager, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) cast ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ and joining the stellar line up are Michael Moshonov (The City and the City) as Litvak, Charif Ghattas (After the Ashes) as Khalil, Amir Khoury (Fauda) as Michel, Katharina Schüttler (Dogs of Berlin) as Helga, Simona Brown (Kiss Me First) as Rachel, Max Irons (Condor, Terminal, The Wife) will play Al and Charles Dance (And Then There Were None, Game of Thrones) will step into the role of Picton.

Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård filming in front of the Acropolis in Athens. (BBC One/AMC)
Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård filming in front of the Acropolis in Athens. (BBC One/AMC)

Oscar-nominated production designer Maria Djurkovic (The Imitation Game Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Mamma Mia) will bring ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ heightened accuracy and a rich detail to the world of late 1970s counter-culture; BAFTA winner and Academy Award® Nominated costume designer, Sheena Napier (Howards End, Enchanted April, Parade’s End) and BIFA Award Winner, Nicole Stafford (The Death of Stalin) will work together to add detailed authenticity to the costume, make-up and hair design.

Highly-acclaimed Korean cinematographer Woo-hyung Kim (Assassination, The Front Line, Late Autumn) will work closely with Park Chan-wook to bring a soaring cinematic texture to Charlie’s journey and nominated Prime-Time Emmy® and BAFTA Award-Winning film editor, Lucia Zucchetti (Game Change, Boy A, The Queen) joins them.

The six-part mini-series based on John le Carré’s best-selling literary masterpiece of the same name has been adapted by Mike Lesslie (Macbeth) and Claire Wilson (Partners in Crime). The series will be financed and produced by The Ink Factory in partnership with 127 Wall and co-producers the BBC and AMC. Laura Hastings-Smith (Howards End, Macbeth, Hunger) will work as Producer with Simon and Stephen Cornwell serving as Executive Producers alongside John le Carré, Joe Tsai, Arthur Wang, Mike Lesslie, Wonjo Jeong, and Park Chan-wook. Mona Qureshi is the executive for the BBC and Kristin Jones is the executive for AMC.

Read more
Do Sacha Baron Cohen’s victims deserve sympathy?
Time Bandits TV series in development
Carrie Fisher returning in Star Wars IX