“Ironbark” director and Sundance Institute creative advisor Dominic Cooke dropped by TheWrap Studios at the 2020 Sundance film festival to discuss how his suspenseful political drama, based on a true story, differed from other espionage thrillers.
“I was sent the script by my agent along with a bunch of other scripts and it just stood out from the rest so immediately,” Cooke tells The Wrap. “I just think it’s written with such heart and vision, and it’s a true story but I didn’t know that when I first read it.”
“I think it kind of takes you into a very different place in terms of the espionage movie in that it’s much more of an emotional relationship based story about the cost of heroism and the cost of acting for the greater good, and all of the key characters pay a big price for what they do,” added Cooke. Watch the rest of the interview the film’s cast above.
“Ironbark” centers on businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) and prim but warm housewife Sheila (Jessie Buckley) who lead a properly quiet English life. When rumblings of a mole in the Soviet Union government reach British intelligence agent Dickie Franks (Angus Wright) and CIA official Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan), Greville is called upon by his country precisely for his ordinariness. He is thrown into the political conflict, and as his efforts to end the Cuban Missile Crisis deepen, he forges an unbreakable bond with his informant, Oleg (Merab Ninidze), that will be put to the ultimate test. Pressured by Sheila’s suspicion of his secrecy and as the Soviets close in on the plot, Greville proves himself not to be ordinary at all.
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