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Maggie Gyllenhaal for BBC series The Honourable Woman

Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight

Story by Jack Foley

HOLLYWOOD actor Maggie Gyllenhaal has landed the lead role in a BBC2 thriller set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Honourable Woman will find the Dark Knight actress playing a British life peer who becomes drawn into the world of international relations and espionage following the murder of a Palestinian businessman.

Her character, Nessa Stein, is the daughter of a Zionist arms procurer who is made a life peer for her promotion of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Honourable Woman is the latest project from The Shadow Line creator Hugo Blick and is a co-production with Robert Redford’s Sundance Channel.

Filming is due to begin in London next month (July 2013), with foreign location shoots also planned for a story that spans the UK, US and Middle East.

Ben Stephenson, BBC drama controller, said he had been keen to work with Blick again after the success and critical acclaim of The Shadow Line and described The Honourable Woman as a “really grown up, complicated” drama.

He was backed by Sarah Barnett, Sundance Channel president, who added: “The Honourable Woman is scintillating drama: it is both a tightly plotted international political thriller and a superbly wrought character piece about hope, compromise, guilt and families.”

Gyllenhaal is the latest big name American talent to sign up for a BBC drama. Former X Files star Gillian Anderson recently won widespread acclaim for her performance in serial killer drama The Fall (which has been given a second season) and Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss will soon be seen playing a police detective in Jane Campion’s New Zealand-set thriller Top of the Lake, which will air on the channel in the summer.

Christopher Walken and Winona Ryder have also recently been confirmed to star in the second instalment of David Hare’s Worricker Trilogy, Turks & Caicos, in which Bill Nighy reprises his Page Eight role as an MI5 officer. Ralph Fiennes also returns. Find out more

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