Eddie Redmayne to star in new Sky series The Day of the Jackal

 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images f)
(Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images f)

Eddie Redmayne is set to star in and executive produce a new Sky series, The Day of the Jackal.

The upcoming show is based on the 1971 book of the same name by Frederick Forsyth which details the actions of an assassin in the Sixties who is hired to kill the French president, Charles de Gaulle, by a French right-wing paramilitary group.

Redmayne will play the assassin, whose code name is the Jackal. According to Sky, the new series is set to stay “true to the DNA of the original story”, but will also “delve deeper into the chameleon like ‘anti-hero’ at the heart of the story”.

Ronan Bennett is onboard as showrunner and writer, while  Brian Kirk is set to direct the new series. Bennett previously wrote Public Enemies (2009) and the BBC One show Gunpowder (2017), while Irish director Kirk has directed episodes of Luther and Game of Thrones.

The series is being produced by Carnival Films, the company behind Downton Abbey and The Last Kingdom. Forsyth will also be a consulting producer on the series.

“We are excited to bring to life Ronan Bennett’s re-imagining of Forsyth’s revered thriller in the complex world in which we live today and are incredibly fortunate to have an actor of Eddie’s calibre as our Jackal,” said Gareth Neame, CEO of Carnival Films. “Paired with Ronan’s screenplay and Brian Kirk’s direction, this is a first-class creative team.”

The book was previously turned into a (very good) film, The Day of the Jackal, in 1973, which had English actor Edward Fox playing the Jackal. It was also turned into a (less good) film, The Jackal, in 1997, which starred Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier in his last film role, and had Bruce Willis playing the Jackal.

The novel has also become a classic over the years, with The Times saying on the book’s fiftieth anniversary in 2021, “There is no doubt that even more casual readers of thrillers will still be enjoying it in 50 years’ time.”

Redmayne won an Oscar in 2015 for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Most recently he has starred in the Netflix thriller The Good Nurse, alongside Jessica Chastain (and received BAFTA, SAG and Golden Globe nominations for his role), and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, where he plays the lead character Newt Scamander.

Production of The Day of the Jackal is set to start this year. It currently has no release date