It’s the BBC’s first-ever Israeli language tv series, and it’s so good that the US film giant Jerry Bruckheimer commissioned a US remake, before the original Israeli series had even aired in Israel, casting Toni Collette (Muriel’s Wedding) in the lead role.
What’s it about? In Bruckheimer’s words, “Hostages is a character drama about a family that’s taken hostage and they have to lead their daily lives while they’re being hostages. The mother of the family, a doctor, is asked by the hostage-takers to kill the President as she operates on him. It’s a very tense situation that plays out during the series. It’s very clever, there are a lot of twists and turns, and some shockers, and that’s what an audience loves. It’s what I love. And the characters really pull the viewers along with them.”
Here’s Toni Collette, on why she took the lead role in the US version: “When I first read the script, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a real page-turner that’s subtle and smart. The character of Ellen I found interesting in that through her experience of this hostage situation, she actually grows and finds her strength.”
Israeli critics have gone wild for the series, praising it even more than Hatufim (the original Homeland). Ha’aretz says it sets a new bar in tv drama.
Hostages doesn’t start its run until 2015, but on Wed 12 Nov, at 8.30pm, at London’s JW3, Jewish Quarterly, together with UK Jewish Film, will screen the first episode (a riveting watch), and introduce BBC 4 Channel Editor Cassian Harrison, who joins for a Q&A. This will be an intimate and interesting evening where viewing and conversation will combine to the best effect!