Slow Horses Director: Season 2 Already Filmed & More Seasons Planned

Slow Horses, the darkly comic spy series from Apple TV+ that seems to be a proper hit, given how many people are talking about it, has already shot its second season. Deadline interviewed series director James Hawes and he casually dropped that the second series is already in the can… with more on the way. "Apple have already shot the next six," Hawes revealed, "and they will air sometime later this year. And there is every hope and intention that there will be another couple of seasons in the immediate future."

Slow Horses: Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas Preview Spy Series
"Slow Horses" image: Apple TV

Slow Horses adapts the first novel in Mick Herron's hit spy novels, set in a contemporary London, centering on the exiled spies sitting out their ruined careers in Slough House, a dinghy, nondescript office overlooking a shop opposite the concrete hell of the Barbican Centre. These spies are overseen by the cynical, tired and flatulent Jackson Lamb, played by Gary Oldman, a once-brilliant agent now whiling away his days well away from the Park, the main hub of British Intelligence a few miles away in Central London. His band of screwups is constantly hoping to find a way to get back in the thick of things and revive their careers, particularly young agent River Cartwright (Jack Lowden), a once-promising hotshot who turned an honest mistake into total mayhem on a routine operation. In Season One, Cartwright thinks he may have a chance when he finds suspicious activity involving a disgraced right-wing journalist and a white supremacist group that has abducted a young Pakistani-British student with the intent of executing him live on video. Things go south very quickly and Lamb, Cartwright, and the agents of Slough House are drawn into a very messy situation indeed.

Hawes talked at length about creating the dreary, grey London that becomes a major character in Slow Horses: "Mick Herron had set them in this particular row of houses opposite the Barbican. I went with the location and design team, and that area is actually multiple properties. There's everything from corner shops and Italian restaurants to an Airbnb, so we couldn't use that in total. I loved the idea that, from the first floor up, this had once been the property of a lawyer who'd, in the '70s, probably knocked it through and made a higgledy-piggledy Escher-esque kind of conversion. So the production designer came up with a set which echoed the external architecture and created this very rabbit-warreny sort of interior. But to answer the broader location question, I wanted London to be a powerful character in this, and I wanted it to be a London that was a little bit the back-alleys, the under-the-bridges, the between-the-rail-tracks sort of place. So we created a world that I think feels coherent. It's a sort of space that feels like an everyday London, not a tourist, glitzy London."

He went on to talk about how Slow Horses fits into the spy genre, citing influences like "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and also some great European espionage thrillers, like The Lives of Others. But I feel there's sort of three-stage history so far in the intelligence thriller. There's the British era of James Bond and Len Deighton, and then the Americans picked it up and turned it into the conspiracy thriller: All the President's MenThree Days of the CondorThe Parallax View … And then we sort of borrowed it back, especially in [British] TV with [shows like] Edge of Darkness and State of Play. So we gave Slow Horses a colour palette that was steeped in those American and European movies of the '70s and '80s. That was very conscious—it feels like it's got history. It really was an attempt to build visually on the legacy of those films and shows, and feel true to the genre."

Hawes offered no details about Slow Horses Season 2, but it's likely to be an adaptation of the second novel Dead Lions. There are currently seven books in the series, with an eighth, Bad Actors, due to be published this May.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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