Maggie Gyllenhaal cast as lead in new BBC Two thriller, The Honourable Woman

I couldn't put the scripts down. Nessa is such an exciting and intricate character. I can't wait to begin filming."Maggie Gyllenhaal
Date: 28.06.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.06
Category: BBC Two; Drama
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart - Oscar nomination, The Dark Knight, Secretary) is to play the titular role in Hugo Blick’s (The Shadow Line) seven-part drama series The Honourable Woman for BBC Two and Sundance Channel.

The Honourable Woman is a fast paced, labyrinthine thriller set against an international political backdrop, written and directed by BAFTA-winning Hugo Blick. With his distinctive rhythmic style and vision as both a writer and director, Blick brings together a compelling drama about family inheritance, international business and world politics.

Nessa Stein’s (Maggie Gyllenhaal) father was a Zionist arms procurer, and as children, she and her brother 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.

Maggie Gyllenhaal says: "I couldn't put the scripts down. Nessa is such an exciting and intricate character. I can't wait to begin filming."

Following the murder of a Palestinian business man, Samir Meshal, after he had just been awarded the latest cabling contract, Nessa and her brother Ephra find themselves placed under the scrutiny of both Whitehall and the Secret Intelligence Service. It is then that Nessa is forced to confront not only the true nature of her business empire but of her brother and, ultimately, of herself.

Set against the gripping international backdrop of paranoia and espionage, The Honourable Woman follows one woman’s personal journey to right the wrongs conducted in her past. From the corridors of governmental power, to Whitehall and MI6, Washington and the CIA, to Israel and the Palestinian Territories - the visual backdrop of BLICK’s gripping drama is as stunning and refined as the story that drives it.

Polly Hill, Head of Independent Drama for the BBC: “Maggie Gyllenhaal will be a perfect Nessa Stein, and I am delighted that she has agreed to play her. Hugo Blick has created a complex character in Nessa, with an extraordinary story and the combination of Hugo’s stunning scripts and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the lead role is an exciting and powerful combination.”

Executive Producer for Drama Republic Greg Brenman says: “We have been fans of Hugo Blick for many years and are thrilled that this extraordinary project, now boasting one of America’s leading ladies will be the first production for Drama Republic.”

Sundance Channel President, Sarah Barnett: “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 Honourable Woman was commissioned by the Controller of BBC Drama Ben Stephenson with Controller of BBC Two Janice Hadlow; and is the first project for new production company Drama Republic, alongside Hugo Blick’s Eight Rooks Productions and co-produced by Sundance Channel.

BBC Worldwide holds international distribution rights - Jemma Adkins, SVP Scripted Sales and Co-productions brokered the deal. The series is executive produced by: Hugo Blick for Eight Rooks Production, Greg Brenman for Drama Republic and Poly Hill for the BBC. Abi Bach (Small Island) produces.

The Honourable Woman is set in the UK, the Middle East and America, and will film on location from mid July 2013, and will broadcast on BBC Two and the Sundance Channel in 2014.