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Mark Strong to Star in Fox Espionage Thriller ‘Deep State’

Variety logo Variety 3/31/2017 Leo Barraclough
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British actor Mark Strong, who won an Oliver for “A View From the Bridge” and has appeared in films like “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” will star in eight-part espionage thriller “Deep State,” which is produced by Endor Productions for Fox Networks Group.

The series is the first scripted regional commission from Fox Networks Group Europe and Africa, and forms part of the group’s strategy to source, develop and produce original productions at a regional level. It will air in more than 50 countries on the Fox channel. Fox Networks Group Content Distribution holds exclusive global distribution rights for the series.

Strong, whose credits also include “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” will play Max Easton, “a man caught between two versions of himself, the past and the present,” according to a statement. “An ex-spy, Max is brought back into the game to avenge the death of his son, only to find himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy to profit from the spread of chaos throughout the Middle East.”

Strong said: “The character I’m playing is completely morally conflicted – the type of role I find myself drawn to. He has to marry a secretive and extremely dangerous work life with that of a loving father and a loyal husband, and it makes for a fascinating character study.”

Breakthrough talent Karima McAdams (“Fearless,” “Vikings”) plays the part of Leyla Toumi, a “smart and uncompromising” intelligence operative. The series will begin shooting in May.

Matthew Parkhill (“Rogue”) has written the pilot and will serve as showrunner. He will also direct four of the eight episodes and executive produce. Co-creator Simon Maxwell (“American Odyssey”) will write and executive produce. Steve Thompson (“Sherlock,” “Doctor Who”) is also on board as a writer.

Parkhill said: “‘Deep State’ is a grounded, visceral thriller. It moves between the deeply personal story of a family man fighting to escape his past and the violent, dark excesses of government and global corporate power.”

Tom Nash will produce for Endor Productions. Khadija Alami will produce for Moroccan-based K-Films. Hilary Bevan Jones of Endor, Alan Greenspan of 6 Degree Media and Helen Flint of Little Island Productions serve as executive producers. Jeff Ford and Sara Johnson are executive producers for Fox Networks Group, Europe and Africa.

Robert Connolly, whose credits include the BAFTA-nominated miniseries “The Slap,” will be directing episodes one to four. Pat Campbell (“Wolf Hall”) is the production designer, and the director of photography is David Higgs (“Outlander”).

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