Apple Snags Gary Oldman for New Espionage Drama

Gary Oldman Credit: Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock
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Apple TV+ is barely a month old, and while Apple has by all reports been thrilled at the uptake of its first slate of original programming, it’s obvious that the company can’t afford to rest on its laurels if it wants to continue to draw in and keep subscribers.

While critics and viewers may disagree on the merits of Apple’s initial list of shows, even if these were undisputed hits, they still have a limited lifespan — every one of them will have completed their first season run by Christmas — so Apple has to keep things going. It appears December will bring a new slate of shows, including M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant and the Octavia Spencer led Truth Be Told, which have already been announced for Nov. 28 and Dec. 6, respectively, and while Apple hasn’t yet offered specifics, the Little America immigrant story anthology and J.J. Abrams’ and Sara Bareille’s Little Voice are likely the next two shows around the corner.

Apple Opens Up

However, even those new shows will only take us into March at best, so Apple has to be working on a lot more behind the scenes, and now that Apple TV+ has launched, the company is taking a more “Hollywood” approach and being very up front about what it’s working on next.

It also looks like Apple isn’t going to stop trying to woo top talent into the fold. Last week, Apple announced that it had ordered a new show, Severance, a workplace thriller series to be produced by Ben Stiller and star Adam Scott, and now it’s revealed that it has Academy Award winning actor Gary Oldman on board for an upcoming espionage drama.

‘Slow Horses’

The new international drama series, Slow Horses, is based on Mick Herron’s popular book series of the same name, and will star Oldman as Jackson Lamb, a “brilliant but irascible” spymaster who looks after the MI5 agents who end up in Slough House — the dumping ground for British spies who have screwed up.

The original book series behind the drama was first published in 2010 and now features eight titles, of which the second, Dead Lions, won the 2013 Gold Dagger award from the U.K.’s Crime Writers’ Association.

Oldman is known for a range of films including 2012’s espionage thriller, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, as well as actually taking home the Oscar for best actor in 2017 for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. He has also starred in Dark Knight and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This will be the actor’s first role in a regular TV series.

The executive producer team for the new series includes Will Smith (not the actor, but the writer known for Veep and The Thick of It), along with Canadian producer Graham Yost who has also been pegged to co-executive produce Masters of the Air, the third instalment in Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers and The Pacfic World War II sagas, alongside Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

Slow Horses will be produced out of the U.K. by London-based See-Saw Films, making it Apple’s latest international series — an important move for the company as it seeks to adhere to upcoming European Union legislation that will require that streaming services offer 30 percent European content in order to be available to European customers.

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