'The Little Drummer Girl' star Alexander Skarsgard hopes the show will tell the story of "both sides"
Alexander Skarsgard says he would not have been part of the project if the series had a biased approach to the Arab-Israel conflict
The cast of 'The Little Drummer Girl' has been pretty sensitive about the Arab-Israel conflict of the late 1970s, and star Alexander Skarsgard has declared that the show is not taking any biased stance on the war. Based on John Le Carre's 1983 titular novel, the show follows young, aspiring actress Charlie Ross (played by Florence Pugh) whose inclination towards left-liberalism makes her of interest for Mossad agents who are trying to bring down a Palestinian terrorist. Led by Marty Kurtz (played by Michael Shannon), agent Becker (played by Skarsgard) lures Charlie into a decisive attempt to put her up as a pawn in order to bring down the terrorist.
Skarsgard's character, Becker, is a Mossad agent who accompanies the intolerant Marty, who is clearly prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause. However, more than Becker, Marty seems to be fighting the war for his own biased reason, which according to Skarsgard, is not something that the show is willingly dealing with. Speaking to MetroUK about the show, 'The Legend of Tarzan' actor said, "I would not have been in it had it not a black and white, the good Israeli Mossad agents versus the evil Palestinian terrorists. But I knew that wouldn’t be the case."
As Skarsgard has mentioned, the two Mossad agents, Marty and Becker aren't projected as men who would fight a war for the sake of peacemaking. It is more of a winning game for them, during which they do not mind using civilians as their pawn. The spotlight seems to reflect on the two men's intention to gain power while putting up the face of justice. This feature of a character being in the grey zone and not really inclining to any particular side has been a prominent characteristic of Le Carre's characters, and Skarsgard mentioned, "I’d read a couple of Le Carré’s novels prior to this and he’s an extraordinary, intelligent writer and he makes it morally difficult for you to pick a side, which is very, very important because I think it’s crucial to understand the plight of the other side."
While he is still hopeful that the show will give people a detailed look into the story of both sides, he still thinks that "we’ve become desensitized." He further added, "At this point, it’s been going on for so long, no peace process, it doesn’t look good. I see no hope really at this point because there are no talks at all. Unfortunately what happens with a conflict like that, especially in the west, we kind of move on and don’t think about the suffering down there. Hopefully, with this show, you get to learn about both sides; the history of what they’re going through. Even though it takes place 35 years ago, unfortunately, it’s still relevant today."
A similar concern was raised by Shannon regarding the incidents of the 1970s, which serve as a backdrop to the story. Speaking to the media during the show's premiere at the 62nd BFI London Film Festival on October 14, in London, Shannon said that it is "upsetting" that the story which was published in the '70s continues to be so relevant even to this day. Almost voicing out his character's angst against the conflict, Shannon stated, "So many people have tried so hard. I’ve never really understood it, personally. I understand being upset about the history of your people and wanting to rectify what you believe to be the wrongs that you’ve suffered but the cost just doesn’t seem to be worth it really."
'The Little Drummer Girl' returns on BBC 1 on November 8, at 9 pm.