The Little Drummer Girl

"The audition is over, Charlie."

John le Carré’s book “The Little Drummer Girl” was somewhat controversial as it managed to offend both the Israelis and the Palestinians in its depiction of its terrorism story. Controversy, however, can often be seen as a moneymaker, at least that’s what the team at Warner Bros. must’ve thought when they set to work right away of optioning the book, adapting it, and having George Roy Hill direct it. Unfortunately, Hill didn’t seem to be the right guy for the job as the film ended up fairly flat. Then again, maybe it was the fact that they cast a nearly–40 Diane Keaton to play a role written for an early 20s actress. Or maybe the script was a bit too streamlined? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our John le Carré series with Hills’ 1984 adaptation The Little Drummer Girl.

We talk about where the problems were for us in this adaptation – the direction? acting? script? – and how it stacks up against the more recent miniseries adaptation. We look at the nature of the story and why it may not have worked well at the time. We look at Keaton and debate some other possible actresses who would have fit the role better than she. And we chat about Dave Grusin’s score, which sadly didn’t work for us.

It’s a sloppy telling of this story – one which is told much better – but it’s still interesting to visit. Check it out then tune in to this week’s show as we have a great conversation about it. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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