In bringing to life The Little Drummer Girl, AMC’s six-part adaptation of John Le Carré’s classic thriller, the producing team felt it was best not to confine the shoot to a soundstage.
Florence Pugh, who plays the lead role of Charlie, said that commitment created some compelling sequences for the actors to portray. In a panel session closing out AMC’s portion of TCA summer press tour, Pugh described a sequence where she and co-star Alexander Skarsgård, meet and do a walk-and-talk around the Acropolis in Athens at night. The production was the first to capture the grounds of the actual ancient landmark on screen.
“Are we really doing this on the Acropolis?!” Pugh remembers wondering. “Alex and I just had a camera in our face reacting to being at the Acropolis at night. That was incredible.”
Simon Cornwell, who is an executive producer of the show along with his brother, Stephen, said the novel “is one of John Le Carré’s great books” with a “powerful female protagonist.” He conceded being “disappointed” with the 1984 film adaptation directed by George Roy Hill and starring Diane Keaton. “I don’t think anyone was interested in duplicating it,” Pugh said.
A completely different energy is provided in the new version by Park Chan-wook, the celebrated Korean director of films like Old Boy, making his TV debut on the limited series.
“The medium is very exciting for him,” Cornwell said. “The idea of going deeper into the ideas and being able to live in them really appealed to him.”
Little Drummer Girl, which also stars Michael Shannon, premieres in November.