Entertainment One has announced that principal photography commenced this week in Yorkshire on Official Secrets, a new feature based on the dramatic true story of British intelligence whistle-blower, Katharine Gun. Academy Award® nominee actress Keira Knightley will star alongside Matt Smith, Academy Award® nominee Ralph Fiennes and Matthew Goode. They lead a fantastic supporting cast including Tamsin Greig, Indira Varma, Adam Bakri, John Heffernan and Myanna Buring with Conleth Hill taking on the role of legendary editor of The Observer, Roger Alton. The film will be shooting on location across the UK.
Whistle-blower Katharine Gun (Knightley) leaked a top-secret NSA memo exposing a joint US-UK illegal spying operation against members of the UN Security Council during the immediate run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion. The memo, which proposed blackmailing smaller, undecided member states into voting for war, was leaked to Observer journalist Martin Bright who published the memo to great international uproar.
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Academy Award® winning filmmaker Gavin Hood (Eye in the Sky, Tsotsi) will direct the gripping thriller and penned the script. Marking his second collaboration with Hood, Ged Doherty (Eye in the Sky, Loving) will produce with Elizabeth Fowler (Devil’s Knot) and Melissa Shiyu Zuo. Claudia Bluemhuber, Anne Sheehan, Hugo Heppell will serve as executive producers alongside eOne.
Director Gavin Hood commented: “When I read Katharine Gun’s deeply personal story of conscience, I felt that a crucial missing piece of the “How we got into Iraq” puzzle had fallen into place. But more importantly, I was drawn to a simple yet profound and rather topical question which her struggle asks us to consider that is, if you discover that someone in power is doing something illegal or immoral when do you, or would you, speak up? As with my last film, Eye in the Sky, my hope is that our audience will be engaged by a tense and emotionally satisfying story, and also leave the cinema with something to talk about after.”
eOne will oversee production and will finance the project with Screen Yorkshire and Melissa Shiyu Zuo through her company GS Media. eOne will directly distribute the feature film in Canada, UK, Australia/New Zealand, Germany, Benelux and Spain. Sierra/Affinity represents all other international territories outside of the US.