As he collected his third Tony Award recently, for his performance in Twelfth Night, British actor Mark Rylance could not have anticipated the level of excitement that would fall upon him following the announcement of his casting in Steven Spielberg’s as-yet-untitled Cold War thriller. The DreamWorks project will mark his first real foray into big studio productions, despite huge success in the world of theatre.
With a script most recently re-worked by the legendary Coen Brothers, based on a pitch by Matt Charman (Suite Francaise), the story centres upon a successful American lawyer named James Donovan. He is drafted in by the CIA to negotiate the release of a U2 spy plane pilot, who was shot down over Russia, and is being held by the government. Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is attached to star as Donovan, though it is currently unknown which role Rylance will be taking.
The film is heading for a Fall start-date, to allow Spielberg the chance to complete this drama before commencing production on his adaptation of The BFG by Roald Dahl. Spielberg is set to both produce and direct the Cold War thriller, creating an unparalleled opportunity for Mark Rylance to step into bigger studio fare. Though he starred in The Other Boleyn Girl, the award-winning thespian is primarily known for his stage-work – not least having spent a decade as the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, from 1995 – 2005.
With Marc Platt (Drive, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Wanted, Legally Blonde) pulling producing duties alongside Spielberg, and a script bearing the fingerprints of Academy Award winning writers Joel and Ethan Coen, Mark Rylance could not have chosen a more exciting film project to appear in. With such a high calibre of talent already involved, this Cold War thriller is a solid bet for being one of the most highly anticipated movies of late 2015. As pre-production gathers momentum, watch this space for more casting announcements.