Damian Lewis & Guy Pearce Thriller ‘A Spy Among Friends’ Picked Up by MGM+

Damian Lewis, Guy Pearce in A Spy Among Friends
Courtesy of BritBox and Spectrum

Ben Macintyre’s best-selling novel A Spy Among Friends is being adapted into a scripted crime drama for MGM+, with Damian Lewis (Billions) and Guy Pearce (Mare of Easttown) starring in lead roles. MGM+ is the new name for Epix from early 2023.

The six-episode series tells the true story of two British spies and lifelong friends, Nicholas Elliott and Kim Philby, the latter of which became the most notorious British defector and Soviet double agent in history. The drama will explore how Philby’s profoundly personal betrayal, uncovered at the height of the Cold War, resulted in the gutting of British and American intelligence.

Created by Alexander Cary (Homeland) and produced by ITV Studios in collaboration with Sony Pictures Television, A Spy Among Friends stars Emmy winners Lewis and Pearce alongside Anna Maxwell Martin (Line of Duty), Stephen Kunken (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Adrian Edmondson (Back to Life).

“I’m very happy to be bringing our Cold War tale of friendship and betrayal to MGM+. They’re the perfect partners for us and I can’t wait for people to see it,” said Lewis, who also serves as an executive producer on the series through his production company, Ginger Biscuit Entertainment.

Also on board as exec producers are Patrick Spence (Adult Material), Nick Murphy (Save Me), Chrissy Skinns (The Last Kingdom), Bob Bookman (The Mosquito Coast), Alan Gasmer (Vikings), and Peter Jaysen (Dublin Murders). The series is directed by Murphy.

“Alex Cary has brilliantly adapted Ben Macintyre’s historical novel about friendship, loyalty, and betrayal,” said Michael Wright, head of MGM+. “He, along with Nick Murphy, Damian Lewis, and the remarkable cast led by Lewis and Guy Pearce, have brought to life this riveting tale of two British spies whose deep personal bond and long friendship is challenged by duplicity and deception.”

Lauren Stein, EVP, drama development, Sony Pictures Television, added, “Ben Macintyre is an unbelievably talented writer. Alex Cary has taken this fascinating story and created a suspenseful—and at times heartbreaking—drama about duty, honor, and friendship. Watching Damian, Guy, and Anna bring it to life is like watching a master class and I am so excited for people to get to experience the show.”

The series will premiere domestically on MGM+ in 2023, following its U.K. premiere on ITX in December 2022.

A Spy Among Friends, TBA, 2023, MGM+