The Spooks movie – Spooks: The Greater Good – is underway, and as you can see from this exclusive first-look still, it’ll be tauter than Hawkeye's bowstring. Fans of the long-running BBC show will be keen for a few morsels on what to expect from the feature-length spy thriller and director Bharat Nalluri was happy to oblige. "The canvas is huge on this, he told Empire. “We’re running from Moscow to Berlin to London. It’s a story of the old world and new world.”
Written by show veterans Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent, Spooks: The Greater Good sees embattled M-alike Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) taking the fall when a terrorist slips through MI5’s fingers and vanishes into thin air. With his agency mired in scandal and his professional reputation in tatters, Pearce is seen jumping from a bridge into the Thames, presumably clutching a particularly huge tumbler of his favourite malt whisky.
Enter Kit Harington as Will Crombie, a former member of Harry's team, to find out what really happened during Pearce’s Reichenbach Falls moment. Crombie could be just the man to take the mantle of agency defender as the truth around Pearce’s disappearance and the crisis at the heart of Britain’s counter-terrorism team is gradually laid bare. Captain America: The Winter-Is-Coming Soldier, then? Somehow MI5’s budget seem unlikely to stretch to a helicarrier.
“You could say that Harry is having a Nick Fury moment”, jokes Nalluri, “although Captain America is set against a very fictionalised world. Spooks, at its best, has always plucked from the headlines.”
So which headlines will the feature-length version be plucking from? “When we closed the show in 2011, thinking we’d mined everything”, he explains, “but then it kick-started again. You’ve got Julian Assange hanging out in the Ecuadorian embassy, Chelsea Manning, guys grinding computer discs in The Guardian’s basement, home-grown Jihadists, email hacking, spying on the Germans, Syria... it’s an unbelievable stew.”
Joining Firth and Harington in this espionage mix are Tuppence Middleton, an actress with previous in this field with MI5 thriller Cleanskin, Spooks veteran Tim McInnerny (Oliver Mace in the show), and World War Z’s ill-fated doctor Elyes Gabel. Jennifer Ehle will also star, but will there be a reappearance from Matthew Macfadyen as old fan favourite Tom Quinn, last seen in the garb of a private contractor? Nalluri isn’t ruling it out. “We brought him back in the very last episode of the last season,” he hedges. “Make of that what you will...”
And what of the move from small to big screen? “The toy box is out for this one,” says Nalluri of the likely action. “We’ve got motorbikes, attacks on convoys, huge sniper sequences in the middle of London. It’s set piece after set piece.”
He promises to deliver the shocks that made early Spooks famous – that chip-fat incident, in particular – albeit within a likely 12A framework. “It’s hard and it’s unsparing and certainly no-one in safe in the film,” he explains. “There’ll be lots of twists.” No more trips to the chippie then? “Maybe a salad bar this time,” he laughs. “Tossed to death!”
The two-and-a-bit month shoot will see them all in action in London, Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz, and Moscow, as well as Pinewood Studios. Yes, they’re sharing a city with Jack Bauer. Play nice, kids.
Spooks: The Greater Good is planned for release by Pinewood Pictures/Altitude sometime in 2015. More in Empire magazine as we get it - and aren't you impressed we got the whole way through this story without a Hot Fuzz reference?