China Mieville's THE CITY AND THE CITY Coming To The BBC

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China Mieville's THE CITY AND THE CITY Coming To The BBC

Big news for fans of speculative fiction with word that David Morrissey has signed on as the lead in a long gestating adaptation of China Mieville's The City And The City for the BBC. Mieville is an absolute titan in science fiction and fantasy circles, his work rich and complex and both demanding of its readers while rewarding for those who put in the effort. For fans Mieville has long been considered one of those wish list sort of authors, one who we would love to see on screen but whose work has largely been considered unfilmable. Except now they're filming it.

Acclaimed writer Tony Grisoni (Southcliffe, Red Riding, The Young Pope) has handled the adaptation with Tom Shankland on tap to direct a four episode series with Morrissey to play Inspector Tyador Borlú, a cop investigating a murder in the fictional city of Besźel.

The four-part serial follows Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad, resident of the crumbling city of Besźel. The mutilated body of a foreign student is found dumped on some wasteland and Borlú is assigned to the case. Borlu is unfazed until he uncovers evidence that the dead girl had been involved in the political turmoil between Besźel and its prosperous twin city of Ul Qoma, which occupies the same physical space. Citizens of each city are forbidden from seeing each other, and the frontier between the cities is policed by 'Breach' which punishes all transgressions.

Despite the violent deaths of those around him, and a growing realisation that he is personally implicated in the crimes, Borlú doggedly chases the truth. To solve the case he will have to embark on an odyssey of the mind, a journey across the border from one reality to another.

The City And The City will air on BBC Two, though they do not seem to have announced an air date as of yet.

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BBCChina MievilleDavid MorrisseyThe City And The CityTom ShanklandTony Grisoni
  • Kurt

    Deeply excited for this. I hope Perdido St. Station and EmbassyTown are also being considered.

  • The VFX demands of Perdido combined with the relatively narrow audience probably make it unfilmable. I think the only way it happens is if one of the streaming platforms steps up in a big way.

  • bricriu .

    Perhaps if American Gods does well it'll prove there's a market? Either way, Am really excited to hear this news!

  • Certainly wouldn't hurt but Perdido is FAR more expensive to make than American Gods. I don't think there would be a single sequence in Perdido that didn't have some extravagent combination of art design and VFX. I'd love to see it so much but I have a really hard time seeing how anyone could make the numbers work.

  • knewsomething

    Interesting to have the perspective of a producer. Seeing how even Game of Thrones carefully dose their special effects even with the riches at their disposal, I see what you mean. All I can do is hope.

  • bricriu .

    selling executives on a fantasy story without orcs, elves, and dwarves would be a nonstarter before they even got into the numbers...

  • Kurt

    EmbassyTown would be pretty inexpensive to make, but after Dennis Villeneuve's ARRIVAL, it would probably look almost derivative (even though it very much is not!) at this point.

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