Mark Strong Boards Fox Network's Espionage Thriller 'Deep State'

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Mark Strong

The eight-part drama — the first regional scripted commission from Fox Networks Group Europe & Africa — has also snared 'The Slap' director Robert Connolly.

Mark Strong is set to add to his already impressive set of spy credentials. 

The Olivier Award-winning and BAFTA nominated British actor — star of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Zero Dark Thirty and The Imitation Game — will take the lead in espionage thriller Deep State, the first regional scripted commission from Fox Networks Group Europe and Africa. 

The eight-episode hourlong drama — which was announced under the working title The Nine — will see Strong play Max Easton, an ex-spy caught between the past and the present. When he is brought back into the game to avenge the death of his son, he finds himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy to profit from the spread of chaos throughout the Middle East. 

Deep State, which is set in Britain, the U.S., Iran, Lebanon and France, was written by Matthew Parkhill (Rogue), Simon Maxwell (American Odyssey) and Steve Thompson (Sherlock, Doctor Who). Robert Connolly (The Slap, Paper Planes) has signed up to direct episodes 1-4, while Parkhill, alongside his role as showrunner, will direct episodes 5-8. The show comes from Emmy-winning producer Hilary Bevan Jones' Endor Productions.

"Every now and again a script comes along that you just can’t put down and Deep State is exactly that — a great example of the best kind of writing," said Strong, who will be joined in the cast by Karima McAdams (Fearless, Vikings), who is set to play Leyla Toumi, an uncompromising intelligence operative. 

“As an actor, Mark Strong has the intelligence, power and subtlety to realize troubled characters in the most extraordinary way," said Jones. "We are absolutely thrilled to be working on this drama with Jeff Ford and Sara Johnson at Fox Networks Group."

Added Ford, senior vp content development at FNG Europe & Africa: "The sheer scale and ambition of this project is a testament of things to come, as we strive to produce quality, premium programming for a global audience."

Deep State, which is set to go into production in May, will be aired in more than 50 countries on Fox.

Tom Nash (The Escape Artist) will produce for Endor Productions, alongside Khadija Alami (Homeland, The Night Manager) for Moroccan-based K-Films. Bevan Jones, Alan Greenspan of 6 Degree Media (Donnie Brasco, High Fidelity) and Helen Flint of Little Island Productions (Close to the Enemy) will serve as executive producers, while Ford and Johnson will be exec producers for Fox Networks Group, Europe & Africa.

Strong is repped by Alex Irwin of Markham, Froggatt and Irwin and WME.