Here’s our Spy Movie News - October 25, 2022 edition!
Today we will examine spy movies and spy streaming series that are in development. We’ll look at Slow Horses, Litvinenko, Citadel, Our Man From Jersey, Kompromat, Codeword: Rubicon, The Gray House, A Spy Among Friends, and many more. We’ll also react to a comment from Elizabeth Banks about her 2019 movie Charlie's Angels. And we’ll react to something that has scared us that Barbara Broccoli said about Bond 26.
As per usual, you can find all of our Spy Movie News as audio podcast episodes here if you would prefer to listen instead of read.
Let’s start the discussion with some news about a series that we like that is getting ready for its second season.
We are excited that Apple + has released the trailer for Season 2 of Slow Horses. As I've said in the past, we loved season 1 of Slow Horses and have been anticipating Season 2. As you would expect, if you didn’t see season 1 of this series on Apple +, you can catch up to date. It stars Gary Oldman, Kristen Scott Thomas, Jack Lowden. Season 2 also brings back much of the excellent supporting cast.
And here’s the cool part, the trailer says that Season 2 comes out on December 2nd, 2022. We can’t wait.
According to Variety, the movie Litvinenko, which stars David Tennant has sold to AMC+ and Sundance Now, among others. Additionally, it is on a variety of streaming services internationally. It has pre-sold ahead of its debut on ITVX, which is ITVs streaming service slated to launch in November 2022.
Litvinenko is based on the true story of Alexander Litvinenko who you may remember was poisoned and died by polonium poisoning. Significantly, Litvinenko was a former Russian Federal Security Services and KGB officer who defected to Great Britain. The movie gives us his story.
A 6-part spy story will release on Amazon Prime sometime in the future called Citadel. One part is being filmed in Italy. As Riccardo Tozzi, producer and founder of the studio Cattleya tells Variety “The Italian series is a spy story with elements of action, adventure, and fantasy—the genre is simply unprecedented for Italy and for Cattleya.” The cast is strong for this series as it stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Stanley Tucci, and Richard Madden
Our Man From Jersey
Starring Halle Berry, Mark Wahlberg and J.K. Simmons, is the Netflix movie Our Man From Jersey. This movie is described as a “blue-collar James Bond.” It follows the reluctant spy formula that we highlight often on our podcasts. This time it is Mark Wahlberg who is a construction worker. He gets involved with the spy game because of his girlfriend, played by Halle Berry. Filming has begun in Croatia, London, and Trieste Italy. The supporting actors are strong too including Jackie Earle Haley. He’s one of those actors who I like in everything he’s done. He usually plays someone who is a bit quirky so it will be fun to see what they do with him here. Yep, sign me up when this one is released on Netflix.
We’ve mentioned the upcoming movie Kompromat in a few Spy Movie News episodes in the past. This movie is somewhat based on a true story about a Frenchman working in Siberia who gets framed. Although this has been a very successful movie in France since it’s September 7th release, international distribution has begun widely. Magnolia Pictures has bought the US rights to Kompromat. As Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles says in Variety “Kompromat is an incredibly tense espionage thriller,” … “Jerome Salle and the stellar cast have delivered an exceptional movie.”
Swiss Television has commissioned an eight-part series based on the company Crypto AG, called Codeword: Rubicon. The company, launched in the early 1950s was really a front for the CIA and West German Intelligence Services. It’s a fascinating story and we are eager to see how it is told here.
Codeword: Rubicon is expected to hit pre-production next year, so we’ll have to wait for this one.
You may remember Ryan Phillipe playing FBI agent Eric O’Neil in the 2007 movie Breach which chronicled the take-down of Robert Hanssen for selling secrets to the Russians. That was an adaptation based on a true story. Well, now Phillipe plays another FBI agent in the movie American Murderer. This too is based on a true story and stars Tom Pelphrey as Jason Derek Brown. Brown is a conman that Phillippe’s character has to track down. Idina Menzel also stars in this movie
American Murderer released at the end of October in theaters in the U.S.
Zach McGowan, Taryn Manning, Tobias Truvillion, and Chris Tardio star in the movie Sanctioning Evil. The tagline for this movie is “After being discharged from the military, Sgt. Barnes finds his way back into society via a charismatic politician with a covert plan to eliminate an underground criminal element.”
An article on Movieweb.com gives us more depth including telling us that the criminal element is a challenging one: child trafficking. This one seems to have a hard edge to it.
There was a limited U.S. release and it is currently available for streaming on Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play.
The Gray House
It’s too bad they couldn’t get any big stars for the movie The Gray House. Oh wait, it stars Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman. That should be a good sign.
The Gray House is a six-hour series being done by Paramount Global. This is yet another movie or series we’ve talked about today that is based on a true story.
This time it is a Civil War spy drama which focuses on three women spy ring who, according to an article on Deadline.com turned the tide in the American Civil War in favor of the North. Deadline likens the story to that of the 2017 movie Hidden Figures, which also featured Costner. Hidden Figures focused on real-life female mathematician who were vital to NASA and the space program.
A release date has not been announced.
Chief of Station
Chief of Station heads into production this November. This is the Alec Baldwin - Olga Kurylenko spy movie that we’ve mentioned in earlier episodes. The casting is shoring up nicely with the addition of Alex Pettyfer who will pay a CIA agent and Chris Petrovski who plays Baldwin’s son.
No release date has been announced for Chief of Station.
Netflix is bringing us another true spy story. They have obtained the rights to Joseph Cox’s upcoming book, Dark Wire. This plot sounds a bit similar to Codename: Rubicon that we mentioned earlier. According to Deadline.com, Dark Wire tells the story of how the FBI created a fake telecom company that led to the arrest of over a thousand international criminals. So, here it is the FBI, not the CIA as in Codename: Rubicon. But it is still a U.S. government agency creating a front company in order to catch bad guys.
Jason Bateman has signed on to direct Dark Wire.
Netflix is on a roll. They will premiere the series The Recruit on December 16, 2022. In this movie, Noah Centineo plays Owen Hendrix who is a CIA lawyer who has to deal with a former asset who wants to expose why she has been involved with the agency.
The Recruit also has the name Graymail in some other countries. Additionally, we should also point out that this is not the 2003 movie starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell.
A Spy Among Friends
The movie The Fourth Protocol had a character named Kim Philby. Kim Philby was a real-life double agent and a lot has been written about his treason. In the ITVX series A Spy Among Friends, due to be released this fall, Damian Lewis plays Philby’s close friend, Nicholas Elliott. Elliott is an operative with the SIS who has to interrogate Philby, who is played by Guy Pearce. So, once again we have a spy movie or series based on real-life.
A Spy Among Friends is based on Ben Macintyre’s book about Philby. Given that it stars Lewis and Pearce, this is a series we will definitely catch.
First appearing in 1986, Vikram is a Bollywood secret agent. Vikram Vedha brings the character back 27 years later. His mission in Vikram Vedha is to thwart a huge drug deal (sounds a bit like Licence to Kill to us). Vikram is now a grandfather who has to work with a younger operative named Amar. They don’t care about the rules and fight crime as they want to.
This is a remake of the 2017 Tamil-language movie with the same name. However, it is 26 minutes longer. It has a lot of action in it’s 2 hour and 53-minute runtime.
Ok, this one is a bit different than what we usually talk about on Spy Movie News.
Elizabeth Banks and Charlie's Angels
Back in December 2019 we gave a scathing review of the just released movie Charlie’s Angels. We did not like his movie and one of the things we pointed out what that the movie was marketed towards girls. It did not do well at the box office.
The movie’s director, Elizabeth Banks was interviewed recently by The New York Times. Although the interview was supposed to be about her new movie Call Jane, she was asked about Charlie’s Angels. She didn’t help her cause. Here’s part of what she said:
“There was a story around Charlie’s Angels that I was creating some feminist manifesto. I was just making an action movie,” Banks said plainly. “I would’ve liked to have made Mission: Impossible, but women aren’t directing Mission: Impossible. I was able to direct an action movie, frankly, because it starred women and I’m a female director, and that is the confine right now in Hollywood. I wish that the movie had not been presented as just for girls, because I didn’t make it just for girls. There was a disconnect on the marketing side of it for me.”
Well, for us, here at Spy Movie News, the ‘marketing for girls’ was only part of the problem with the movie. The script wasn’t very imaginative which we think hurt it more that the marketing. It sounds to us that Banks is carrying a large chip on her shoulder about the marketing, but we doubt the movie would have been successful with different marketing. It just wasn’t a good movie, let alone a good spy movie.
Please Tell Me This Isn’t True
An article on The Spy Command says Barbara Broccoli has said that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade will probably work on Bond 26. PLEASE NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!
As I've said in the past, these are the two that ruined the Bond franchise in our opinion. Occasionally, they did alright. The World is Not Enough was their first Bond script and they did well with Casino Royale (2006) but they had the Fleming book to work with. But then they lost track of who Bond is. Let’s see: Die Another Day, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, and then finally No Time To Die. Although some of those did well at the box office, the character of Bond changed a lot, and not in a good way from the way we see it. They really boxed themselves in with Skyfall by focusing so much on age and the old way of doing things. That’s where they really lost it.
Then please, who was the character Daniel Craig was playing in No Time To Die? It wasn’t the James Bond I know.
Can’t we please just have Purvis and Wade meet the same fate as they wrote for M, Leiter, and Bond? The franchise needs new blood. We think they have to go.
We lost some major talent this month.
We’ll start with Angela Lansbury who passed at the age of 96. She was best known for her work on stage and her role in the tv series, “Murder She Wrote”. She was also the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Ms. Lansbury had success in espionage movies as well. She was nominated for 3 Oscars for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Her final nomination was in 1963 for her portrayal of Miss Eleanor Shaw Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate. She also played Miss Froy in the 1979 remake of the Hitchcock classic The Lady Vanishes. Herfans will be able to see her final movie performance in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery starting on December 23rd.
Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane passed at age 72. Robbie Coltrane was known as Hagrid to fans of the Harry Potter series. To James Bond fans, he was Valentin Zukovsky in GoldenEye and The World is Not Enough, one of our favorite characters in the series.
His birthname was Anthony Robert McMillan. He was a fan of jazz and took the name Robbie Coltrane as an homage to John Coltrane.
Douglas Kirkland pass at the age of 88. Kirkland was a very skilled and sought-after celebrity photographer. An article on Variety.com tells us that he earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Operating Cameramen and the president’s award from the American Society of Cinematographers. Some of his work includes his photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, and many more. Lastly, for the spy movie fan, Douglas Kirkland was the uncredited Still Photographer on the James Bond movie Licence to Kill.
And finally, editor Dennis Virkler has passed at age 80. During his career, he earned two Academy Award nominations for Editing. The first was for The Hunt for Red October which he shared with John Wright. The second was for The Fugitive which he shared with 5 other editors.
We hope you enjoyed this Spy Movie News - October 25, 2022 edition. If you did, please subscribe to our show - Cracking the Code of Spy Movies - in your favorite podcast app and on YouTube.