Just recently, The Great Gatsby and Tenet star Elizabeth Debicki was cast as Princess Diana for the last two seasons of The Crown. But an upcoming limited series will take her even further back into history.
Elizabeth Debicki will bring her towering, elegant stature to the new international limited series Code Name Hélène, which will tell the true story of Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, a New Zealand-born journalist who became a ferociously brave spy and one of the most powerful leaders of the French Resistance.
Variety has news on the Code Name Hélène series in the works from France’s Vendôme Group and Anonymous Content. The series will be based on Ariel Lawhon’s book of the same name. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:
It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.
As Lucienne Carlier Nancy smuggles people and documents across the border. Her success and her remarkable ability to evade capture earns her the nickname The White Mouse from the Gestapo. With a five million franc bounty on her head, Nancy is forced to escape France and leave Henri behind. When she enters training with the Special Operations Executives in Britain, her new comrades are instructed to call her Hélène. And finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly Madam Andrée, where she claims her place as one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance, armed with a ferocious wit, her signature red lipstick, and the ability to summon weapons straight from the Allied Forces.
But no one can protect Nancy if the enemy finds out these four women are one and the same, and the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed she–and the people she loves–become.
Like the book, the series will be told in interweaving timelines that dive into the four different codenames that Nancy Wake used throughout World War II. Debicki, who is also executive producing the series, said in a statement:
“Nancy Wake was an astonishing New Zealand-born, Australian-bred woman of incredible courage, ingenuity and wit. Her heroic actions during WWII are, in my opinion, too little known. As an Australian, I am delighted to come on board this production as both actress and executive producer to tell her utterly unique story.”
Debicki has quickly become an in-demand actress, and her star power will only rise after her role in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet this year. Not only is she a fantastic actress, but Debicki’s towering height makes her literally stand out from the rest of the actresses working in Hollywood today.
Philippe Rousselet will be producing for Vendôme Group along with the banner’s co-CEO Fabrice Gianfermi and head of development and production Sarah Borch-Jacobsen. Rosalie Swedlin and Keith Redmon will also be executive producing for Anonymous Content with Kathryn Thal.
Since this is an international series, there’s no guarantee that this will be a project that comes to the United States. But the project doesn’t have a distribution home yet, so we’ll have to wait and see where the series ends up.
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