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Actors Michael Shannon, Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgard arrive at the premiere for The Little Drummer Girl at the BFI London Film Festival. Photo: AP

After success of The Night Manager, John Le Carre’s Little Drummer Girl is next for TV release

The film about a woman recruited by an Israeli spy master to track down a Palestinian militant, starring Michael Shannon, Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgard, will be a ‘smaller, slower’ adaptation, says famous author

John le Carre fans will see a new adaptation of one of his spy novels when The Little Drummer Girl hits TV screens this month but the British author said there was huge pressure in making the series after the success of hit show The Night Manager.

Le Carre’s 1983 book, previously made into a film starring Diane Keaton, is set in the 1970s and follows British actress Charlie as she is recruited by an Israeli spy master to track down a Palestinian militant.

The miniseries was made by the makers of Golden Globe-winning The Night Manager, with le Carre’s sons once again executive producers. The author described the story as “quite different”.

The Night Manager is a compelling take on John le Carré’s novel

“The one thing you can’t do, you can’t be a one-trick pony, you can’t repeat it. We had a massive audience [for The Night Manager],” le Carre said at The Little Drummer Girl premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on Sunday.

Pugh, Shannon, director Park Chan-wook, author John le Carre and Skarsgard, at the film’s premiere at the London Film Festival. Photo: Reuters

“This will be a different thing … probably attract a smaller but a much more responsive audience in many ways. It’s not as accessible, it’s more thinking, it’s slower and I think more beautiful.”

Lady Macbeth actress Florence Pugh takes the role of Charlie in the series, which also stars The Shape of Water actor Michael Shannon and Big Little Lies star Alexander Skarsgard.

“She is someone so opinionated, so loud, so sure of herself,” Pugh said of Charlie. “I loved the fact that my character wasn’t necessarily from that [spy] world … us as the audience, we watch her like we are her.”

Skarsgard plays intelligence agent Becker, who as part of the story’s Israeli spy plot also pretends to be a young Palestinian Charlie travels with across Europe.

Famous author Le Carre at the film’s premiere in London. Photo: AFP

“I hope people embrace this show as much as they did The Night Manager,” he said.