The Alex Rider YA literary franchise is about to step into the realm of television.
Back in July 2018, U.K.-based indie company Eleventh Hour Films received a major boost to its spec project from Sony Pictures Television, having landed the rights to bring British author (and creator of TV series Foyle’s War,) Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books to the small screen.
The television project will manifest as an eight-episode offering on a network/platform to be determined, adapting the second book in Horowitz’s novel series, Point Blanc.
Alex Rider TV Series Cast
Otto Farrant (pictured in the title image,) will star as the titular teen spy, Alex Rider, winning the role in the culmination of a wide star search, reports Deadline. It’s a major step up for Farrant, who recently appeared opposite Ruth Wilson in the BBC One miniseries, Mrs. Wilson, having banked small screen roles on Marcella, War & Peace, Silk and The White Queen, as well as child roles in films such as The Great Ghost Rescue and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
As Farrant expresses in a statement:
“I couldn’t be more excited to play such an iconic character as Alex Rider. 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.”
Director Andreas Prochaska adds:
“We met a lot of people for the role of Alex Rider, but when Otto entered the room, there was something magical about him. He has the perfect combination of youth and skilfulness, innocence and professionalism, to bring this iconic character to the screen.”
It didn’t take long for a subsequent announcement of Alex Rider’s supporting cast members. Notably including some alumni from HBO’s Game of Thrones, they consist of the following, as also reported by Deadline:
Brenock O’Connor (Game of Thrones – Olly) will play Tom, described as Alex Rider’s “jovial best friend.”
Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo (Doctor Who) will play Alex’s housekeeper, Jack Starbright.
Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch) will play Ian Rider, Alex’s “detached uncle and reluctant guardian. Unbeknownst to Alex, Ian has been relentlessly training him since childhood and preparing him for the threatening world of espionage.”
Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones – Stannis Baratheon) will play Alan Blunt, commander of The Department, “a secret underworld offshoot of MI6, where Ian Rider spent his life as a field agent. Blunt entraps the unsuspecting Alex to work as an undercover agent at academy Point Blanc.”
Vicky McClure (Line of Duty) plays Blunt’s second-in-command, Mrs. Jones, who seeks to keep Alex from danger where possible. She is aided by colleagues John Crawley (Bohemian Rhapsody’s Ace Bhatti) and Smithers (Casual’s Nyasha Hatendi).
Point Blanc – which carries the public façade of correcting the unruly behavior of its teen students – secretly trains super spies. The school characters consist of the following:
Marli Siu (The Sopranos) as Kyra, who hacked the Tokyo stock exchange for millions.
Earl Cave (The End of the F**king World) as James, who shot his private tutor with an air rifle.
Additional players include:
Katrin Vankova (Snatch) as Laura, Nathan Clarke (Tyrant) as Arrash, Talitha Wing (The Feed) as Sasha.
Haluk Bilginer (Halloweeen) plays Dr. Greif, the Academy’s corrupt principal.
Ana Ularu (Siberia) plays Eva Stellenbosh, Greif’s manipulative deputy.
Alex Rider TV Series Details
Andreas Prochaska serves as director and executive producer for the Alex Rider TV series. The Austrian helmer, Prochaska, recently directed the upcoming TV miniseries, Das Boot, a new small-screen sequel to director Wolfgang Peterson’s acclaimed breakout film, 1981 WWII submarine drama Das Boot. Prochaska also fielded TV runs with Anatomy of Evil, Maximilian and Four Women and a Funeral, as well as the 2014 German-Western, The Dark Valley.
Prochaska works off the written word of BAFTA-winning screenwriter Guy Burt (The Bletchley Circle, The Borgias), who was tapped at the project’s outset to pen the script. They will be joined by original author Horowitz himself, who will executive-produce.
As Prochaska expressed in a 2018 statement:
“Within the first few pages of reading Guy Burt’s compelling scripts for the series I was hooked. Guy has taken Anthony’s brilliant, well-loved character and created a bold and unique concept, a coming-of-age story set in the clandestine world of spies sure to excite fans and newcomers alike.”
The teen spy-centered novel series of Anthony Horowitz is represented by 11 novels (with one set for 2019,) an array of supplementary short stories and, most notably, the 2006 film, Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, starring Alex Pettyfer as the hero, joined by a cast consisting of names like Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke, Sarah Bolger, Andy Serkis, Stephen Fry, Alicia Silverstone, Robbie Coltrane, Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo. However, the film was widely panned as derivative and was anemic upon arrival at the box office, earning just $677,646 in the U.S., totaling $23.9 million worldwide.
The first novel – on which the film was based – in 2000’s Stormbreaker sets the eponymous protagonist’s origin story, in which the death of Alex’s uncle/adoptive father (secretly an MI6 agent,) leads him to becoming a ward of his uncle’s employers, a military academy that secretly trains young agents, eventually tackling the threat of super-computer Stormbreaker. By contrast, 2001’s Point Blanc – which the series will adapt – sees Alex investigating mysterious deaths in a prep school for the offspring of powerful figures.
An earlier Alex Rider television project was planned by the U.K.’s ITV, but subsequently halted. Eleventh Hour’s new television adaptation will be fully funded by Sony Pictures Television, which will search for a broadcasting platform and handle international production under Wayne Garvie and worldwide distribution under Keith Le Goy. As the duo of Sony suits express in a joint statement:
“We identified Alex Rider some time ago as we were looking for the right project to take this leap, and we’re thrilled it has come together as our very first spec series.”
We will keep you updated on the Alex Rider television series project as things develop!