Sometimes as I’m getting the day started with my requisite cup of coffee never too far from my side, an entertainment news story will jump out at me and make me glad to be alive and relatively well during this most difficult of years. Such is the case with the Variety (accept no substitutes, Dear and Constant Readers) news that dropped yesterday about the upcoming Apple series Slow Horses which is set to star one of the better groups of actors that has been assembled in some time.
Kristen Scott Thomas (The English Patient) and Jonathan Pryce (Dark Blood, Brazil) have been announced to join acting cohort Gary Oldman (seen to good effect in this year’s epic film Mank) in Apple’s spy drama Slow Horses. Not impressive enough for you? Yeesh, alright, how about this duo of names then: Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) and Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) are two actors par excellence who will also be joining in on all of the fun in this new project.
Slow Horses is an adaptation of the popular Slough House books from author Mick Herron. The story follows a group of British intelligence agents who serve in the lowly dead-end department of MI5 which is commonly known as Slough House. Think of it as The X-Files, sans the supernatural elements. Gary Oldman plays the leader of this shabby outfit who, through a series of career-damaging mistakes has wound up in this most undesirable of positions. Scott Thomas has been cast as the character of Diana Taverner, a not to be messed with, high-ranking agent of the shrouded MI5. Cooke has been cast as Agent Sid Baker, officemate to Lowden’s Agent River Cartwright, a man who will stop at nothing to escape the purgatory of Slough House. Dramatic tension, anyone?
Meanwhile, the always resplendent and Oscar nominated actor Jonathan Pryce (love this guy) essays the part of a retired Agent of MI5 who also happens to be the grandfather of River. As a film fan in general, and an admirer of late actor River Phoenix in particular, this movie freak can’t help but catch some nice symmetry here: Pryce was Phoenix’s co-star in the 1993 George Sluizer film Dark Blood. Whether intended or not, it’s a nice tip of the hat from one fellow actor to another.
Veep scribe Will Smith (not to be confused with, you know, the other Will Smith) will do the scripting honors for Slow Horses as well as wearing an executive producer hat. Wanna know the laundry list of other exec producers on this project, kiddies? Here ya go: Douglas Urbanski, Graham Yost, Jamie Laurenson, Gail Matrux (clever name, that), Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman all get a free tee-shirt and complimentary “We’re Exec-Producers and All We Got Was This Stupid Mug” coffee cup. Lest we forget, James Hawes of Black Mirror fame is tapped to direct the show.