The series about Alexander Litvinenko, which is currently developing the HBO television network, will be called “Londongrad”. According to Variety, the project will be based on the book “The Terminal Spy” by British journalist Alan Cowell, first published in 2008 - shortly after the death of the ex-FSB officer who fled to London.
Oscar-nominated Benedict Cumberbatch will play the role of Litvinenko in the show, and he will also act as the executive producer of Londongrad. Brian Vogel was appointed director of the series - in 2018 he received an Academy Award for the documentary “Icarus”, which told about the allegedly existing doping program in Russia to support athletes. Screenwriter David Scarpa (All the Money in the World) will also take part in the creation of the film adaptation of The Last Spy.
The date of the premiere of “Londongrad”, as well as the performers of other roles in the project, have not been disclosed at the moment. Representatives of HBO have not yet confirmed information regarding the series to Variety.
In a conversation with Gazeta.Ru, State Duma Deputy Andrei Lugovoy, who was called a suspect in the Litvinenko case by the British side, expressed the opinion that participation in Londongrad cannot be called a successful development of Cumberbatch’s career.
“I sincerely regret the choice of the cast for the series. I associate Benedict Cumberbatch more with the patriot of England, the image of the genius Sherlock Holmes respected by me personally. Not the best choice for Cumberbatch’s filmography. If I were in his place, I would think well, ”he said.
Lugovoi also saw HBO’s idea of filming Litvinenko’s story as a crisis in the genre.
“Based on the Litvinenko case, we have already staged an opera, written books, and filmed serials. Now here’s a movie. Obviously, comics and online games are on the way. The story develops in accordance with all the rules of show business, when the heirs are trying to make the most of the stories about the death of a person or his memoirs. Although why are we surprised! Even court hearings and decisions of the ECHR are more reminiscent of talk shows and circus performances with somersaults and freaks, ”said the deputy.
At the same time, Lugovoi stressed that he would be flattered if in the series he himself was played by long-term performer of the role of James Bond, Daniel Craig.
“Only Daniel Craig can save the picture, and I will be very flattered if he was offered to play the role of Andrei Lugovoi,” he concluded.
In turn, the Russian voice of Cumberbatch, Ilya Isaev, announced his readiness to voice the British actor in a localized version of the series, if he received a corresponding proposal.
“Of course I would agree. Why not?” - said “Gazeta.Ru” dubbing actor, whose voice the heroes of Cumberbatch spoke in the films “Spy Games”, “Mauritanian” and “1917”.
The project with the star of “Sherlock” in the lead role will not be the first series about the Litvinenko case. So, back in September 2021, the British media announced a similar show on the ITV channel, assuring that its premiere would take place in the near future (the exact date is still unknown). The role of the ex-FSB officer in this project will be played by David Tennant, familiar to the viewer from Doctor Who. Litvinenko’s wife will be played by the actress Margarita Levieva (Invisible). The showrunner of the project will be George Kay (“Lupine”).
Alexander Litvinenko, a KGB and FSB officer in 1988-1999, died in a London hospital on November 23, 2006.
He had fled to the UK six years earlier amid criminal charges brought against him in Russia. After receiving political asylum, Litvinenko began to cooperate with the British intelligence service MI6, as well as the Spanish special services. According to the version of the British side, deputy Andrei Lugovoy and businessman Dmitry Kovtun could have been involved in his poisoning, in Russia this process is called politicized.