Peacock has ordered a television series adaptation of author Frederick Forsyth’s 1971 political thriller novel, The Day of the Jackal. Ronan Bennett, the showrunner of the crime thriller television series, Top Boy, is attached to lead the upcoming project, Deadline is reporting.
The new espionage show, which is being described as a “contemporary reimagining of the beloved and respected novel,” is the first television adaptation of Forsyth’s literary work. Hovever, the book was previously adapted into a BAFTA-winning feature film by director Fred Zinnemann in 1973.
The Day of the Jackal is one of the most well known and respected British novels of the 20th century. It follows a professional assassin who’s contracted by a French paramilitary dissident to kill French President Charles de Gaulle.
The television adaptation will remain true to the source material. However, it will also delve deeper into the anti-hero of the story in a high-octane cat and mouse game that’s set against a backdrop of a turbulent geopolitical landscape.
Brian Kirk, who has directed episodes of such series as Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful and Luther, will serve as the lead helmer on The Day of the Jackal. In addition to serving as the showrunner, Bennett will also write the series.
No casting details have been revealed yet about the project. But the show is expected to go into production next summer.
Carnival executive Gareth Neame said the adaptation will “retain the pan-European setting and play to the strengths of episodic television in this fast paced, intelligent international thriller with the story of an assassin and the race to stop him still at the heart of the action.”
Lisa Katz, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming President of Scripted Content, added: “We’re excited to adapt this internationally recognized classic into an updated, timely, political thriller. Shepherded by novelist and showrunner Ronan Bennett and Carnival, this action-packed high-stakes drama is sure to be an edge-of-your seat adventure for Peacock audiences.”
Meghan Lyvers, director of original drama at Sky Studios U.K. and Ireland, added: “we cannot wait to bring this premium, cinematic, globe-trotting series to Sky audiences across Europe.”
Neame will executive produce The Day of the Jackal with Nigel Marchant. Forsyth will serve as an consulting producer on the streaming service’s television adaptation, and Christopher Hall has also joined the project as a producer.
While Peacock has acquired the U.S. rights to the series, Sky has secured the rights for the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will distribute the project in other regions around the world. Peacock and Sky have not yet set an official release date yet for The Day of the Jackal.