Sony Pictures Television has found their ‘Alex Rider‘ as Otto Farrant lands the lead role in the upcoming adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s teen spy novels. Vicky McClure, Andrew Buchan, Ronke Adékoluejo, Brenock O’Connor and Stephen Dillane will join him in the cast.
For those of you unfamiliar with the books, it follows the story of a teenager, Alex, who is blackmailed into joining MI6 after his secret agent uncle (who is also his adopted parent), is killed in a car crash. The government threatens to deport his housekeeper, Jack Starbright, back to America, and sell off his house and belongings unless he agrees to help complete his uncle’s last mission. Reluctantly agreeing, and armed with a bunch of cool gadgets, Alex sets out to take down the bad guys… It’s basically James Bond junior with some teenage Batman sprinkled on top.
Farrant, who takes the lead role of Alex, has most recently starred in BBC drama ‘Mrs Wilson’ as Nigel Wilson. His previous work includes playing Petya Rostov in mini-series ‘War & Peace’, starring as Thomas Grey in mini-series ‘The White Queen’, and popping up in ITV’s ‘Marcella’.
“I couldn’t be more excited to play such an iconic character as Alex Rider,” commented Farrant. “I loved the books growing up and it is an honour to be able to step into his shoes and give the fans the fresh and thrilling adaptation the series deserves.”
He is joined by Brenock O’Connor, who plays Alex’s best friend Tom. O’Connor is probably best known as Olly, the farmboy turned Night Watchman in ‘Game Of Thrones’. Another GoT actor, Stephen Dillane (aka Stannis Baratheon to GoT fans), will play Alan Blunt, the shadowy agent for MI6 off-shoot The Department, who coerces Alex into becoming an undercover agent at the Point Blanc Academy. ‘Line Of Duty’ and ‘This Is England’ star Vicky McClure takes the role of Mrs Jones, Blunt’s second-in-command, who is trying to keep Alex safe (or as safe as you can be working for a shadowy government organisation!) ‘Broadchurch’s Andrew Buchan will play Ian Rider, Alex’s uncle and guardian, and Ronke? Adékolue?jo (‘Christopher Robin’, ‘Doctor Who’) takes the role of housekeeper, Jack Starbright.
The series was originally in development with ITV, but they walked away and Sony swooped in to continue developing the show with Eleventh Hour, who optioned the rights. BAFTA-winning writer Guy Burt (The Borgias, The Bletchley Circle, Tutankhamun) has written the script, based on Anthony Horowitz’s hugely popular young adult novels. The plan is to have each season of the show based around one novel in the bestselling series, starting with ‘Point Blanc’, the second book. This is presumably to avoid covering the same ground as the (less than successful) 2006 movie ‘Stormbreaker’, which followed the first novel.
The show will be filmed in both London and The French Alps, which is where Point Blanc Academy is based. The story follows Alex undercover with the troubled teenagers of Point Blanc to uncover a sinister truth behind the school. The other students include Kyra (Marli Siu), who hacked the Tokyo stock exchange costing millions of dollars; James (Earl Cave) who shot his private tutor with an air rifle; And the mysterious Laura (Katrin Vankova), Arrash (Nathan Clarke) and Sasha (Talitha Wing).
Although the 8-episode ‘Alex Rider‘ series is being made by Sony, it doesn’t yet have a network on either side of the Atlantic yet, but we’ll let you know when we hear more.