“It really is a show about friendship against the backdrop of espionage,” A Spy Among Friends creator Alexander Cary said at a panel for Deadline’s Contenders TV event. Cary was joined by star Damian Lewis to discuss the MGM+ series.
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Set in England in 1963, the espionage thriller A Spy Among Friends centers around Nicholas Elliot (Damien Lewis), an MI6 intelligence officer who is distraught when he discovers that his close friend, Kim Philby (Guy Pearce), is a double agent working for the Soviet Union. It also stars Anna Maxwell Martin and Adrian Edmondson.
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“One of the brilliant things about spy stuff,” said Cary, “is that so much of it is secret, so much of it is left to the imagination. That opens the door for people like me to come in… and fill in the blanks.”
“[Nicholas Elliot] was an interesting way into an otherwise quite well-known story,” said Lewis. “Kim Philby is one of our most notorious traitors of the 20th century, and no one had heard of Nicholas Elliot except that he was his best friend.”
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“What interested me about the story is that it is about privilege, and it is about class, and it is about the blinkers that entitlement put on people of that privilege and class, to this day,” said Cary. “Especially in England.”
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“I think he was negligent,” said Lewis. “No one wanted to believe anything other than the status quo… They were in a small intelligence elite, doing interesting work during the war, and afterwards, and the bonds that were forged in that time, doing that work, I think it sort of beggared belief that anyone would be a [traitor].”
Check back Tuesday for the panel video.
Deadline Contenders Television is sponsored by Apple TV+, Coverfly, Eyepetizer, Final Draft, Los Siete Misterios, Michter’s, and Village Roadshow Entertainment. Partners include: Four Seasons Resort Maui, The American Pavilion, Julia Wong Designs and Pampring.
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