Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina and Michael Keaton Lead International Cast in TNT's Gripping, High-Powered CIA Drama THE COMPANY, Three-Week Television Event Premiering August 5
Epic Production from Sony Pictures Television And Executive-Producers Ridley Scott, Tony Scott & John Calley, With Mikael Salomon Directing from Teleplay by Ken Nolan
Sunday, Aug. 5, Series Premiere To Be Presented with Limited Commercial Interruption, Sponsored by Ford and Quiznos
This summer, TNT proudly presents THE COMPANY, the story of the Cold War � its beginnings in the early 1950s, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Bay of Pigs fiasco in the 1960s and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 � as told from the perspective of the soldiers involved: the spies of the CIA and the KGB. This epic three-week television event stars an international cast headed by Chris O'Donnell (Scent of a Woman, Grey's Anatomy), Alfred Molina (Frida, The Da Vinci Code, Spider-Man 2) and Michael Keaton (Live from Baghdad, Cars). It comes to TNT from Sony Pictures Television and acclaimed executive producers Ridley Scott (Gladiator), Tony Scott (Man on Fire), John Calley (The Da Vinci Code); and co-executive producers David W. Zucker (Numb3rs) and David A. Rosemont (Into the West). The series will debut in August in two-hour installments over three consecutive Sundays, with the Sunday, August 5, premiere being presented with limited commercial interruption, sponsored by Ford and Quiznos.
"THE COMPANY features world-class talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and epic storytelling that spans four decades and ranges from nail-biting suspense and action to personal and political maneuvering," said Michael Wright, senior vice president in charge of Content Creation Group for TNT, TBS and TCM. "These elements join together to form a truly remarkable production, one that is certain to be one of the most talked-about television events of the year."
Directed by Emmy� winner Mikael Salomon (Band of Brothers, TNT's Salem's Lot) and adapted by Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down) from the best-selling historical novel by Robert Littell, THE COMPANY follows a game played over four decades, from the rainy streets of Berlin to the shores of Cuba, from secret revolutionary gatherings in Budapest to high-level meetings in the halls of Washington and Moscow. The chessboard is the entire globe, with pieces being moved and counter-moved carefully to try to gain advantage in the standoff between two super powers. In the end, the primary casualties were felt on the national and personal level by both willing participants and innocent bystanders.
Each night of THE COMPANY has a unique tone, with Night 1 presenting the early years of the CIA during the Cold War as a taut espionage thriller set mostly on the streets of East and West Berlin, where the cat-and-mouse games between the CIA and the KGB begin. Night 2 is an action thriller, with the primary focus placed on two violent and tragic events: the Hungarian uprising of 1956, which was quashed by massive Soviet involvement, and the Bay of Pigs, in which Cuban rebels attempted to oust Castro from power. And Night 3 is a complex psychological thriller, with the CIA desperately searching within its own ranks for a KGB mole who has been undermining CIA missions for decades.
Among the willing participants in the global power-struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union are three Yale graduates whose lives take very different paths in the icy wilderness of the Cold War. O'Donnell plays Jack McAuliffe, an idealistic young man recruited by the CIA and assigned as apprentice to top spy Harvey Torriti, code-named The Sorcerer (Molina), a colorful master of perception and deception. Jack learns a great deal about the spy game working with The Sorcerer, including some hard lessons about keeping one's emotions in check when dealing with other players, like Lili (Alexandra Maria Lara � Downfall), a ballet dancer who becomes a source of information for Jack, and Elizabet (Natascha McElhone � Revelations, The Truman Show), a freedom fighter in Hungary.
Alessandro Nivola (Junebug, Jurassic Park III) takes the complex role of Leo Kritzky, Jack's best friend and also a CIA recruit. His path, however, takes him much closer to the top powers, thanks in part to the fact that his wife, Adelle (Kristin Booth � The Newsroom), is the daughter of a close advisor to President Truman. Leo and Jack remain friends throughout, with Jack being there for Leo's wedding and serving as godfather to his children. But on the playing field of the Cold War, close friendships and trust can become serious liabilities for all involved.
The third friend is Yevgeny Tipsin (Rory Cochrane � CSI: Miami, A Scanner Darkly), a Russian-born doctorate student who is recruited by the KGB to work in America. Yevgeny is driven by passion for his mother country and compassion for what he sees as grave faults on the part of the United States. "Americans are trapped in a terrible system," he says, "one that brings out the worst in them�They do not see the 25 million Americans who go to bed hungry every night�" During his training in the Soviet Union, Yevgeny falls in love with a young Jewish woman, but before he has a chance to marry her, he is shipped off to the United States to begin his work as a cutout (a go-between delivering information to and from a mole), and he loses contact with her for more than two decades.
Overseeing the Counter-Intelligence division is James Jesus Angleton (Keaton), whose obsession over finding a suspected mole within the CIA takes its toll on him both personally and professionally. He possesses one of the keenest minds in counter-intelligence and an uncanny talent for, as he puts it, "nurturing seemingly meaningless bits of data, amassing thousands of unrelated facts and slowly connecting them, creating an interlocking picture that comes into focus only through your interpretation." Whether hard at work playing the Cold War's global chess game against a formidable foe or cultivating the precious orchids he grows in his greenhouse, Angleton displays one of the key characteristics necessary for counter-intelligence: patience.
Book-ending Angleton from the Soviet side is KGB head Starik (Ulrich Thomsen � Kingdom of Heaven), whose intricate plan to bring economic ruin on the United States requires the same kind of saintly patience that Angleton must display in thwarting it. "This war is one of icebergs moving slowly in seas of deception," Starik says of the conflict that has had him and Angleton locking horns for years. It is Starik who recruits Yevgeny, as well as the mole who has infiltrated the CIA. Both are key to bringing his endgame to fruition.
Rounding out THE COMPANY's stellar cast are Tom Hollander (Pride & Prejudice, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) as Washington-based MI6 agent Adrian Philby, a personal friend of Angleton; Stephen Bogaert (Playmakers, American Psycho) as Elliott Ebbitt, a CIA agent who trains with Jack and Leo and later works with them; Mike Turner (The Hunt for the BTK Killer) as Manny Ebbitt, Elliott's son who also goes to work for the CIA; Ted Atherton (Hollywoodland) as Frank Wisner, deputy director of operations for the CIA; and Cedric Smith (Our Fathers) and Martin Doyle (Our Fathers) as CIA executives Allen Dulles and Dick Bissell, respectively.
The epic project also features Richard Blackburn (TNT's The Grid) as Senator Fullbright; Scott Alexander Young (A Caf� in the Sky) as Sergei Kukushkin, a Russian defector who feeds information to the CIA; Raoul Bova (What About Brian?) as Robert Esdolona, an anti-Castro Cuban military captain; JB Blanc (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) as Manuel Pineiro, head of Castro's secret police; and Misel Maticevic (Lost Killers) and Gergo Danka (Outlanders) as Arpad Zelk and Zoltan, two Hungarian revolutionaries.
Making special cameo appearances are two of England's most esteemed actors: Antony Sher (Mrs. Brown, Shakespeare in Love), playing The Sorcerer's counterpart in Israel, Ezra Ben Ezra (aka The Rabbi), and Simon Callow (Amadeus, Four Weddings and a Funeral), as The Sorcerer's MI6 contact, Elihu Epstein.
THE COMPANY comes to TNT from Sony Pictures Television (SPT), one of the television industry's leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment for network and cable television, as well as first-run and off-network series for syndication. With more than 25 programs on the air, SPT boasts a program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. SPT also owns one-half of cable channel GSN, and is a partner in FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service. Sony Pictures Television oversees all of Sony Pictures Entertainment's (SPE) domestic digital distribution efforts across all platforms, including the internet and mobile. Sony Pictures Television, advertiser sales, is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses, for Sony BMG and for iN DEMAND's high-definition channel Mojo, and is part owner of national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.
Tandem Communications and Alchemy Television are international distributors of THE COMPANY, with Rola Bauer, Jonas Bauer and Tim Halkin of Tandem Communications and Carrie Stein and Nick Witkowski of Alchemy Television serving as co-producers.
Turner Network Television (TNT), television's destination for drama and one of cable's top-rated networks, offers original movies and series, including the acclaimed detective drama The Closer, starring Golden Globe� winner and Emmy� and Screen Actors Guild Awards� nominee Kyra Sedgwick; Saving Grace, a bold new drama starring Oscar�-winner Holly Hunter; Heartland, a powerful medical drama with Treat Williams and Kari Matchett; and this summer's eagerly anticipated television event The Company, starring Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina and Michael Keaton. TNT is also home to powerful one-hour dramas, such as Without a Trace, Law & Order, Las Vegas, Cold Case, ER, Charmed and Judging Amy; broadcast premiere movies; compelling prime-time specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards�; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is also available in high-definition.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a TimeWarner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and the leading provider of programming to the basic cable industry.