Apple TV+ greenlights feature doc about spy author John le Carré

The Pigeon Tunnel

Apple TV+ has commissioned The Pigeon Tunnel, a feature documentary about the life of former British spy David Cornwell – better known as the author John le Carré – from Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris.

Debuting on 20 October on the streamer, the Apple original film is produced by The Ink Factory and Fourth Floor Productions, in association with Jago Films, Storyteller Productions and 127 Wall Productions.

Under the nom de plume of John le Carré, Cornwell wrote such genre-defining espionage novels as The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Night Manager and The Constant Gardener. However, his own life was just as storied.

Set against the turbulent backdrop of the Cold War and leading into present day, the film spans six decades as le Carré delivers a candid final interview, punctuated with rare archival footage and dramatised vignettes. Drawing on le Carré’s bestselling memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories From My Life, the film is a voyage into the lesser-known parts of the historically private author’s formative experiences.

Simon and Stephen Cornwell, co-CEOs and co-founders at The Ink Factory, who are also David’s sons, commented: “Full of deep insight, and surprising, amusing and often profoundly moving anecdotes, The Pigeon Tunnel charts a conversation between two great minds, both consummate storytellers; one who wove extraordinary fiction from the events he experienced, the other whose interrogation of those events has led so often to a greater truth.

“Together, they explore the events of the Cold War, and of le Carré’s life, testing the boundaries of truth, memory and imagination. The layered and unorthodox film is a tête-à-tête between a filmmaker and a novelist – both masters of their craft – grappling with the roots of the creative process, the power of fiction and our responsibility to the truth.”

The producers are Dominic Crossley-Holland and Steven Hathaway, alongside Simon Cornwell and Stephen Cornwell. Executive producers include Hossein Amini, P.J. van Sandwijk, Michael Lesslie, Joe Tsai, Arthur Wang, Michele Wolkoff and Katherine Butler.

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