If you’re looking for an intense wartime drama filled with friendship, betrayal, and a couple of powerhouse actors, you might just want to keep an eye on the upcoming limited-run series A Spy Among Friends. According to Deadline, the Cold War-era drama has officially found its lead actors in Band of Brother’s and Homeland star Damian Lewis and Mare of Easttown’s Guy Pearce, and has already begun filming ahead of its fall 2022 release date. The news comes a year after the series was first revealed last year, albeit with actor Dominic West attached to it. Instead, it is now Lewis who will be portraying notorious double agent Kim Philby, marking the actor’s next major role after departing Showtime’s Billions.
According to Deadline, A Spy Among Friends is based on the true story of the “defection of notorious British intelligence officer and KGB double agent, Kim Philby, played by Mare of Easttown’s Pearce” and follows him “through the lens of his complex relationship with MI6 colleague and close friend, Nicholas Elliott (Lewis). The show examines espionage through their friendship, the fallout of which affects East-West relations to this day.” Creator and executive producer Alexander Cary said he couldn’t resist “the opportunity to dramatize the true story” of the lifelong friends and examine the “larger universal themes of human behavior” inherent in spy stories.
“How could I resist the opportunity to dramatize the true story of Nicholas Elliott and Kim Philby — two spies and lifelong friends, one of whom was betraying the other all along?” said Cary. “A friendship that resulted in the gutting of British and American intelligence at the height of the Cold War and shaped the field of play for the dangerous game against Russia that we’re still trying to win today. Macintyre’s books about spies from recent history are relevant and exciting because they examine the larger 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.”
In addition to Pearce and Lewis, Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland), Stephen Kunken (Billions), and Adrian Edmondson (Back to Life) are also set to star in the series, which began filming in London this week. A Spy Among Friends is being produced by Sony Pictures Television, ITV Studios and Veritas Entertainment Group, with Cary and Lewis serving as the show’s producers alongside ITV Studios’ Patrick Spence. The joint venture between the BBC and ITV is set to premiere next fall via Spectrum’s On Demand platform in the U.S., and BritBox in the U.K.