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Gary Oldman to star in new spy series for Apple TV+

Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images for Netflix)

Proving once more that he loves nothing more than an excuse for a total-body transformation of an acting gig, Gary Oldman has signed up for a new spy drama, which will presumably give him lots of chances to put on bald caps, fake beards, fat suits, or anything else that might allow spies to do their whole “incognito” shtick.

Then again, maybe he’ll just be one of those boring British spies that always looks exactly the same but introduces himself with, “My name is Ralphie McFunsies” or whatever to throw people off his trail. Either way, Oldman will be doing just that for Apple TV+: Deadline reports the actor has signed on to star in an adaptation of Slow Horses for the streaming service. The 2010 novel follows Jackson Lamb (already sounds like a made-up name), a “brilliant but irascible leader of a group of spies who end up in MI5’s Slough House, having been exiled from the mainstream for their mistakes.” The plot involves a young man who gets kidnapped, with his captors threatening to publicly decapitate him via livestream—but Lamb soon uncovers strange discrepancies in the situation.

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The series will be written by Will Smith, an Armando Iannucci collaborator that has worked on Veep and The Thick Of It, and sadly not the same Will Smith that bungee-jumped over the Grand Canyon last year, because that would be one hell of a career change. (Maybe it’s just another clone of the actor?) More intriguing still, Justified showrunner Graham Yost will be exec producing. And while Oldman, Smith, & Yost sounds like the name of a real estate law firm, the creative team will have plenty to keep them busy if the first season succeeds: Slow Horses is just the first of eight books in the spy series. No word on when production will start, but presumable Oldman won’t begin this project until after he finishes up David Fincher’s biopic on Citizen Kane co-screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, again proving that even when it come to real-life stories, Gary Oldman would prefer to play characters with names that sound fake. Here, we’ve got a behind-the-scenes shot of his wardrobe test for this new spy drama:

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Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.