Maggie Gyllenhaal makes a perfect Nessa Stein. Hugo Blick has created a complex character in Nessa, with an extraordinary story. The combination of Hugo’s stunning scripts and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the lead role is an exciting and powerful combination.Polly Hill, Head of Independent Drama, BBC
Date: 04.06.2014 Last updated: 23.06.2014 at 13.08
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Frank, Crazy Heart, The Dark Knight, Secretary) is to play the titular role in The Honourable Woman from Hugo Blick (The Shadow Line) for BBC Two and Sundance TV.
The Honourable Woman is a new eight-part political thriller written, directed and produced by BAFTA-winning writer Hugo Blick, and marks Gyllenhaal’s first move into TV. Set against the present day backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, The Honourable Woman explores a range of complex and provocative themes of conflict, deception and betrayal on both a personal, human level as well as on the international and political stage.
Joining Maggie is a stellar international cast including: Stephen Rea (The Shadow Line), Lindsay Duncan (The Hollow Crown), Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch), Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd), Janet McTeer (The White Queen), Lubna Azabal (Occupation), Tobias Menzies (Game Of Thrones), Genevieve O’Reilly (Spooks) and Igal Naor (House Of Saddam).
The series centres around Nessa Stein (Gyllenhaal), who is deeply troubled about past events that have haunted her. Stein is constantly battling a consuming internal conflict – for reconciliation with her past and her search for personal equilibrium. This struggle is manifested in her political activities, trying to reconcile a conflict that has equally haunted a region of the world, countless lives and political agendas for many years.
Nessa Stein’s father was a Zionist arms procurer, and as children, she and her brother Ephra (Buchan) witness his assassination. As an adult, inheriting her father’s company, she dramatically inverts its purpose from supplying arms to laying high-spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank. Now in her thirties, her sudden appointment as a life peer, apparently due to her tireless promotion of projects for reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians, creates an international political maelstrom.
Polly Hill, Head of Independent Drama for the BBC, says: “Maggie Gyllenhaal makes a perfect Nessa Stein. Hugo Blick has created a complex character in Nessa, with an extraordinary story. The combination of Hugo’s stunning scripts and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the lead role is an exciting and powerful combination.”
Greg Brenman, Executive Producer for Drama Republic, adds: “We have been fans of Hugo Blick for many years and are thrilled that this extraordinary project, boasting one of America’s leading ladies, is the first production for Drama Republic.”
Sarah Barnett, Sundance TV President, says: “The Honourable Woman is scintillating drama: it is both a tightly plotted international political thriller and a superbly wrought character piece about hope, compromise, guilt and families. The talent both behind and in front of the camera is remarkable; we are so excited to present this brilliant and wildly entertaining mini-series to our viewers."
The drama is produced by new independent production company Drama Republic and Eight Rooks Productions for BBC Two and Sundance TV. The Honourable Woman is set in the UK and the Middle East, and will broadcast on BBC Two in July.
Controller of BBC Drama, Ben Stephenson with former Controller of BBC Two, Janice Hadlow, commissioned The Honourable Woman. BBC Worldwide holds international distribution rights. The series is written, directed and produced by Hugo Blick for Eight Rooks Productions. Executive Producers are Greg Brenman for Drama Republic and Polly Hill for the BBC. Abi Bach (Small Island) produces.