Author Topic: London Spy: Ben Whishaw, dreamy lover/genius Ed Holcroft and sage Jim Broadbent  (Read 161474 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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London Spy
on BBC2

Ben Whishaw is Danny.
His parents threw him out when he was 16 because he was gay.
He lives in a bedsit and works in an Amazon-like warehouse.
He is tenderhearted and very truthful. He thinks he is not innocent because he is no virgin.
Jim Broadbent is his mentor and friend.



Ed Holcroft is Joe. Or Alex. Or Alistair. Or no, Alex. Or not.
He is an orphan. Or no, his mother is a very chilly Charlotte Rampling. Or not.
He lives in a beautiful London terraced house, and he is an investment banker. Or not.
He is a genius. He is a virgin. And very, very lonely.


Danny and Alex meet by chance, and they fall in love.

And then Alex disappears--


Ed Holcroft, left, and Ben Whishaw in London Spy


« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:07:01 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5CWWaF06uM[/youtube]
Published on Oct 27, 2015



« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:03:49 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PYIg56qobs[/youtube]
Published on Nov 3, 2015

« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:04:31 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJsqbVBHLNo[/youtube]
Published on Dec 3, 2015



« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:05:02 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJdK8M4KcJ4[/youtube]
Published on Dec 12, 2015




« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:05:32 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgcVExUzWAg[/youtube]
Published on Nov 15, 2015




« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:06:12 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g6iwIxWYgQ[/youtube]
Published on Nov 12, 2015





« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:07:41 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g26ZXL2PxFg[/youtube]
Published on Nov 24, 2015





« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:08:10 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/nov/10/london-spy-tv-review-thriller-love-story

London Spy
Last night's TV

London Spy review
Compelling new thriller with a love story at its handsome heart
Ben Whishaw’s Danny bumps into Edward Holcroft’s Alex,
and they find happiness – but why is there a body in Alex’s loft?


By Lucy Mangan
10 November 2015


Ben Whishaw and Edward Holcroft in London Spy.  Photograph: Ed Miller/BBC/WTTV


The season of glossy, dark autumnal treats is upon us. Conkers (chestnuts). Hot toddies. Meaty stews. And proper dramas on TV. The BBC has gathered up its money and its writerly and actorly talent and poured it all into London Spy (BBC2), an unutterably delicious, satisfying dish served up over the next five weeks in portions you will wish to savour.

Ben Whishaw plays Danny, a lonely hedonist who bumps into a handsome jogger the morning after another disaffected night before and experiences something of a coup de foudre. The series is billed as an espionage thriller, but most of this first episode is about the unfolding, in heartbreakingly slow and tender fashion, of their love story.

The great dramatic problem of our age is how to keep people apart. How to infuse such stories with tension. There are so few credible barriers to togetherness any more. You want to have sex? Have sex. You want to leave your wife/husband/children/job/life? You can, and people do, with nary a thought for the poor dramatist who is suddenly bereft of conflicts, frustration, anticipation, yearning and all the other things we long for in our hearts and our stories. London Spy solves this brilliantly and believably by having Alex (the jogger, played by Edward Holcroft) be an investment banker, a genius with numbers and child prodigy who went to university at 15 and has all his life been slightly out of step with everyone else. Danny is his first sexual partner, his first boyfriend, his first everything. “How do you admit you’ve never been in a relationship?” he replies when Danny wonders how he reached this point. “And when you do, who wants to stay?”

Danny does, and for a while the two are blissfully happy. It becomes clear-ish that Alex is not an investment banker and that he gives away little of himself, apart from the fact that his parents are dead, but Danny is not the kind to worry about details. Scottie (Jim Broadbent, in fully teddy-bear-carrying-a-switchblade mode), who works in Whitehall and stands in loco parentis to and in unrequited love with Danny, harangues him brutally but Alex does not flinch. However much love he is capable of, it has found its home in Danny.

Alex suddenly disappears. Danny blames himself for telling Alex about his darkest time, from which Scottie saved him, but when someone mysteriously furnishes him with the keys to Alex’s flat Danny finds in the loft an array of S&M equipment, a laptop and a trunk, the last of which contains a dead body which may or may not be Alex. He smuggles a key hidden in the laptop out after calling the police – who discover that Alex is not Alex but a man called Alistair whose parents are definitely not dead and who is definitely not an investment banker. Scottie’s Whitehall-honed instincts say that he is very definitely a spy.

The thriller has begun and no doubt will be as rich and rewarding in its own way as the love story, courtesy of a script from Tom Rob Smith that I’m sure will remain as handsome and elliptical as Alex and as tender and compelling as Whishaw, who remains the most powerful actor ever made out of thistledown and magic. But the love story was beautiful and I hope it returns.


« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:08:42 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/nov/09/london-spy-ben-whishaw-jim-broadbent

TELEVISION
Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent on
London Spy
‘It’s not a gay story. It’s about
guys who happen to be gay’

Part romance, part chilly thriller, the new BBC espionage drama is
taking the genre into bold new territory. We go on set with its stars


By Huw Oliver
9 November 2015


Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw in London Spy.  Photograph: Joss Barratt/BBC/WTTV Limited


Braving the wintry weather, the London Spy crew have set up camp in a deserted box building off a side street, south of the river in Kennington. Supermarket bags snagged in dead trees, sirens wailing in the distance, the clanging of corrugated iron: the scene overflows with just the kind of iconography you might associate with a traditional British spy drama.

But never trust appearances, is what I’m told. Ben Whishaw, who is currently juggling shooting this five-part BBC2 series with his role as Q in Spectre, has just come off set and is adamant that this is the least spy thriller spy thriller you can imagine, a far cry from Bond.

“It doesn’t really feel like a spy thriller to me, although it sort of is,” he says, distractedly cradling a hot-water bottle. “It’s broader than that, because it’s about a character who’s not within that world, about somebody who stumbles into it and to whom it’s alien and mystifying. So it doesn’t feel like a traditional spy drama in that sense. It’s more about his mind.”

Whishaw clasps the puzzles page of this morning’s Metro under his arm, bearing traces of fatigue and a ruffled Ian Brown haircut. “This has been very full-on,” he says of filming the series. “I don’t think I’ve ever done anything as intense and demanding as this.” In what has effectively become a character piece for Whishaw, London Spy’s early starts and heart-rending monologues have clearly taken their toll.

Subtler and more romantic than your usual spook fare, the plot spirals out of a gay love story – surely the first such intrigue in a mainstream TV spy drama – and is propelled by Whishaw’s perpetually downtrodden Danny. Working in a stock room by day and frequenting Vauxhall’s clubs by night, Danny is, says Whishaw, a bit lost. But everything changes when he bumps into the beneficent, enigmatic Alex (Edward Holcroft) on Lambeth Bridge in the early hours after a night out. The two characters are vastly different: Alex is an awkward and eloquent maths genius; Danny is, despite his circumstances, cheeky, charming and boyish. But they click and a relationship blossoms. All this time, Danny believes Alex to be an investment banker, but he is in fact a gifted MI6 spy. And when the latter suddenly disappears and the police start asking difficult questions, Danny gets sucked into the shadowy, subversive, terrifying world of espionage.

Today’s scene involves Danny trying to crack a code left behind by his partner. The deserted building is one of Danny’s old hangouts, somewhere he hopes won’t be bugged or watched, and he’s invited three aides along: closest friend Scottie (Jim Broadbent), Alex’s former maths teacher Marcus (Adrian Lester) and Scottie’s university companion Claire (Harriet Walter). All four characters are very real and recognisable human beings, worlds away from your typical trope-riddled spooks-in-suits, chasing each other over the tops of buildings, and they’re all the more appealing for it.




Spooks: Ben Whishaw and Edward Holcroft in London Spy.  Photograph: Joss Barratt/BBC/WTTV Limited



Walter, who is currently doing just what you might expect her to do to relax away from the camera – drinking tea – was drawn to the drama because of the relatability of the individuals in Tom Rob Smith’s script (the first the Child 44 author has written for television). “This isn’t just a spy thriller,” she says. “It focuses more on the characters and their exclusion from certain normal areas of life because of their personalities, rather than because they’re spies or not spies. The characters are more unpredictable, more unusual.”

Smith, for his part, explains that the encounters between Danny and these various characters provide the motor for the plot as he tries to unpick the enigma of Alex’s life. Intimacy, and whether you can trust even those closest to you, is a major theme throughout.

“Danny’s journey is essentially one of meeting people who are extraordinary in some particular way,” he says. “He’s trying to decode what part these people play in the conspiracy, if there is one. People are very ambiguous and Ben as Danny is looking to figure out what roles these people play. It’s basically a thriller that explores the uncertainty of people, not the uncertainty of institutions.”

Feeding off this ambiguity, the direction of Jakob Verbruggen (The Fall, The Bridge) conveys a constant sense of paranoia through long, languid shots, uncomfortable silences and suggestive camerawork. Grey, hodgepodge cityscapes reinforce this sense of unease: London is a city that’s constantly in flux, a collision of old and new. Most scenes are filmed in the half-light or dark, painting a remarkably eerie portrait of the capital, one that’s heaps more believable than, say, Sherlock’s fetishised depiction of “modern London”.




Eye Spy: Ben Whishaw  Photograph: Ed Miller/BBC/WTTV Limited



“It’s all about observing everyday activity in naturalistic situations,” says Lester, whose cold-yet-suave maths professor eventually manages to crack the code. “That’s what espionage is: gleaning very important information from almost nothing, and that’s what the script does. It invites you to look at the way someone’s blinking or the way they move their hand; that’s how you’re supposed to get your information and follow the plot.”

After Alex vanishes, the main relationship we follow is between Danny and Scottie, Jim Broadbent’s character. An elderly, wise but wounded figure, Scottie used to work in the secret services, and acts as a kind of mentor to Danny. For writer Smith, Scottie represents someone he never had growing up: “I really envied people who had that figure,” he says. “So this is my version.”

There are also hints of unrequited love between the pair, an original set-up for the typically macho world of the spy thriller. But although these gay relationships are at the heart of it, Broadbent stresses “it’s not a gay story” as he stares me down with his quizzical blue eyes. “It’s not about that. It’s about these particular guys, who happen to be gay, who are in the midst of this maelstrom of an unfolding tale.”

Speaking to Smith, it transpires that much of London Spy was written and rewritten with Whishaw in mind, making Danny his perfect suit. Whishaw was sent an early draft of the script a long time before shooting, and immediately jumped on it. Smith knew that the actor was playing the role when finishing up the final scripts, with the result that “he’s very much in the DNA of the character”. The actor has always managed to strike a careful balance between film (most recently Spectre, The Lobster and Suffragette), theatre (starting out with Hamlet at the Old Vic) and TV (Criminal Justice, The Hour), but never has a specific part been so thoughtfully tailored to his qualities: sweet yet melancholy, and always slightly mysterious. All this fuss, and it turns out he isn’t even much of a spy drama fan. “Although I might seem to be in a lot of spy things, I don’t actually watch them,” he admits.

Still, what Whishaw lacks in espionage smarts, he makes up for in creating intriguing, empathetic characters. “He’s totally truthful,” says his co-star Walter. “You don’t quite know when he’s practising and when he’s just thinking and when he’s acting. And I constantly, still, need to learn from people like that. We always need to do a check on ourselves about truthfulness because every acting generation has a different conception of it.”

Likewise, every generation has a different concept of the spy drama and this series feels like the most contemporary version to date. You might not be able to trust appearances, but you can bank on there being more than meets the eye.


London Spy starts Monday 9 November, 9pm, BBC2


« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:09:10 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"