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David Morrissey Takes Up Residence in ‘The City and the City’ for BBC

Variety logo Variety 4/13/2017 Robert Mitchell
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David Morrissey will head the cast of Tony Grisoni’s adaptation of “The City and the City” for BBC Two.

The international cast also features German actress Maria Schrader, recently seen in “Deutschland 83,” and U.S. actor Christian Camargo (“Dexter,” “Penny Dreadful”). Also starring are rising British actress Mandeep Dhillon (“Some Girls”) and veteran British actors Ron Cook and Danny Webb.

Described by the BBC as a “genre-busting thriller” based on the “mind-bending” 2009 novel by China Mieville, “The City and the City” follows the investigation of Inspector Tyador Borlu (Morrissey), a detective in the Extreme Crime Squad of the fictional rundown European city of Beszel, into the death of a foreign student. He soon discovers that the dead girl came from Beszel’s sister city, Ul Qoma, and was involved in the political and cultural strife that exists between the two. To do his job, Borlu must work alongside the Ul Qoman police.

“This is a story that explores the way we live together today, set in divided cities where communities live cheek by jowl, choosing what they see and ‘un-see,’” said the show’s executive producer Preethi Mavahalli.

Adapted by Tony Grisoni and directed by Tom Shankland, “The City and the City” is produced by Mammoth Screen for BBC Two and was initially commissioned back in August 2015. Grisoni and Morrissey previously worked together on Channel 4’s acclaimed “Red Riding” trilogy in 2009. Shankland directed the first season of the BBC and Starz’ “The Missing,” but did not cross over with Morrissey, who starred in the second season of the drama.

“‘The City and the City’ is a truly extraordinary story, and Tony Grisoni and Tom Shankland’s vision of it is as humane as it is skillful,” said Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama. “I’m delighted that we have such a brilliant cast led by David Morrissey and a production team that have come together to make this distinctive drama for BBC Two.”

The four-part drama will be shot on location in Manchester and Liverpool. Betsan Morris-Evans will act as producer with Robyn Slovo, Grisoni, Mammoth Screen’s Mavahalli and Damien Timmer, and the BBC’s Lucy Richer serving as executive producers.

Grisoni recently worked on Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Young Pope.” He co-wrote “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” with regular collaborator Terry Gilliam, which is currently in production with Gilliam directing.

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