Look out, there’s a new Miss Moneypenny in town. Jenna Coleman has been cast as Joan Bright, the real-life war secretary said to have inspired Ian Fleming’s iconic character, in the upcoming series The War Rooms, per the Hollywood Reporter.
Set in Winston Churchill‘s secret Whitehall bunker during World War II, the series is based on Bright’s memoir, The Inner Circle: A View of War at the Top. It will follow Bright from her early days as a war secretary through her triumphs in organizing the great Allied conferences. Along the way, she meets several colorful characters, including the future James Bond novelist.
The series is created by David Chidlow (Amazon Studios’ All or Nothing: Manchester City). David Parfitt is producing the show, fresh off of his work on the multiple Oscar-nominated The Father. Coleman and Jamie Carmichael (Fish Tank, Black Book) will join Parfitt as producers.
Coleman is no stranger to playing historical figures, having tackled Queen Victoria in ITV’s Victoria and Marie-Andrée Leclerc in BBC/Netflix’s The Serpent. Commenting on what attracted her to the material, Coleman said:
“Joan Bright was never going to live a conventional life – a young woman who lived her war days under the official secrets act, undercover and underground in the war rooms. This story is so compelling not only because of her unique and liberal mind, wryness of spirit and curiosity to live, but because of the opportunity to examine this endlessly fascinating period of time through an intimate and human lens. The closeness and proximity of days and nights lived within this small space, the carriers of the truth amidst the oblivion of propaganda above. The beauty and fragility of human connection when living through a time when no one knows what tomorrow will bring.”
Churchill’s War Rooms hold a special place in British culture, and are looked after by the Imperial War Museums, which will be brought on as consultants. The production is aiming to get the details right, warts and all.
“Our intention is to build a series that takes a truly fresh view on a significant part of our collective history,” said Parfitt and Carmichael in a joint statement. “A show that isn’t polite or reverential, but raw, confronting and offers fresh experiences, perspectives, narratives and faces. Ones that speak directly to our current, turbulent times and, critically, to an audience thirsty for tales of hope that help frame and make sense of today and tomorrow.”
There’s no word yet on when the series is expected to drop, so stay tuned for more details.