Thanks to Richard for the heads up.
NOIR follows two female assassins who team up to fight against a secret society during 1960's Paris. After discovering they're mysteriously linked, the two, under the Noir moniker, have to work together until they get answers about why and how they are connected - or until one of them kills the other. Stephen Lightfoot (Criminal Justice) wrote the adaptation and will executive produce the series with Raimi, Tapert, fellow Spartacus exec producer Joshua Donen as well as Bill Hamm.
Noir will premiere in the summer of 2012 on Starz.
Spoiler: MIREILLE DUBOIS
26/28, blonde, beautiful, sexy, graceful and stylish, "Bardot meets Deneuve." Mireille is an artist plugged into a sexy Paris avant garde. She is also one of the top assassins in Europe - cold, efficient and deadly - working under the codename 'Noir'. Mireille is a survivor of the War in the East, a woman who experienced horrors and traumas that forged her into 'Noir'. She embraces life and lives it to the full, but always on her own terms. Deep down Mireille is all about control - of her environment, people and herself. She can make you feel like the only person in a crowded room, and then, when you are, kill you without compunction.
What is her back-story? It is dark. Mireille is a child of the war. Cut adrift during the war, a child forced to do whatever it takes to survive. Witness to mass murder, victim of abuse, she has clawed a living in the forest and rooted through the rubble. Think ‘The Painted Bird’ and ‘Hannibal Rising’. She has suffered at the hands of Nazis and the peasants. The Soviets and the conquering Allies. Her survival instincts are huge, her abilities to hide brilliant. She was trained by resistance fighters – fought and killed from an early age, learning the skills she now uses as an assassin.
Mireille is driven by the need for control – of her life, her environment, people around her. Her assassin work is both a means to this and an expression of it. And it’s the one thing she knows how to do well – hide, kill, escape. The money it brings affords her autonomy.
SO – we’ve got a sexy, clever, funny woman plugged into an exciting Paris underground, her background is a mystery. Life looks great. AND she’s a hit woman. The reason why she’s a hit woman is the story of her background and inner psychology that we’ll peel back like an onion. BOND is a sociopathic prick in many ways – in 23 movies we’ve never found out why. We will here…
Her journey here is to regain control. Her be all and end all, when you peel it back. The Soldats and Kirika are taking that away. But on the way she’ll grow to care for this kid who is her in another life. And once you truly care for someone else, you can never totally be in control
18-20, Japanese, stunning, chilling, balletic and agile. Kirika is a human guided missile. Programmed from infancy in the ways of The Soldats, an ancient society of assassins. Kirika follows her orders without question and would happily die to achieve her mission. Knows nothing of the outside world, and relies on her trainer Lance for guidance. After a fight with Mireille, Kirika develops amnesia and cannot remember her Soldat past. Suddenly she's an 18 yr old girl with 1960s Paris at her feet, and Kirika is going to experience it all, with only Mireille as her guide.
Kirika was found by Lance, aged 3, alone with her father, a Japanese general who had committed seppuku. Lance took the child to an isolated Soldat training camp where she has spent the rest of her life so far.
More on the Soldats elsewhere, but these highly trained young assassins are their ultimate weapon. Children taken at a young age from war zones and conflicts and utterly indoctrinated in the Soldat way. Trained to be more than human. The regime is based on the original Assassins cult of Islam. There young Fida’is were promised the rewards of heaven for selfless service. These guys were the original suicide bombers. Their training was ferocious and monastic, and then they were shown a taste of the heaven they would go to for selfless service.
This is the model for our Soldats – the handlers like Lance, and the council are a step above this. Believers and well paid professionals. Like any secret society they have been recruited or membership handed down. They know the world and its ways. Use them and fight them but the children are pure and untainted killing machines.
Kirika is a much purer creature than Mireille. She believes in the ‘rewards in heaven’ doctrine they have force fed these kids. That true happiness is the reward for ultimate service. That to die for the cause is a good thing. Lives her life by ritual and rote. They are highly skilled attack dogs. Her own safety is of no concern to her. She doesn’t know who she is. Her past has no meaning to her beyond the Soldats. Until she is sent after Mireille and captured.
Kirika is a blank page that the Soldats have painted incredible assassin skills onto. The life of the training and missions is all she knows. Kirika’s showdown with Mireille will leave her with amnesia – she can’t remember who or why she was sent after her. The ‘muscle memory’ of her training is still there. But there wasn’t much else to begin with. She has no roots or culture beyond the Soldats. Mireille needs to keep hold of her to find the Soldats, and in case she is lying…
Now Kirika is looking at Paris and ‘life’ and wanting to know more about it. And a view of life beyond makes her question her own past. Kirika now has a need to know…
In his 30s, lean, good looking, shady and dangerous, he's an American CIA agent working undercover to gain the trust of the KGB. He has a long, tension-filled, possibly sexual history with Mireille and seems disappointed that she's engaged to John. A gambling addict with debts in the 100,000 franc range, he uses Mireille as a courier for his dirty business with the Russians. Under everything Smith is a true patriot and will do anything to protect US interests in the dark and shady espionage world. A man used to making hard decisions...
In some ways the simplest of all our characters. Smith is selfish. He wants to win, and have his own way. The fun for us is that the world keeps getting in the way. He’s sexy, charming, amoral and dangerous. He’s also a true patriot and a man who believes that the Commies are a danger. He’s still fighting a war he’s determined to win. Doesn’t mean he can’t have fun on the way, though.
Smith isn’t a Yale educated, Skull and Bones society CIA man. He’s a former Army officer who served in the occupying force after the war and saw action in Korea (something he shares with John Lancaster, though they never met). He knows the horrors all out wars bring, which is why he’s determined to stop it happening again by waging a clandestine intelligence campaign. He moved from Army Intelligence to the CIA. He’s a field man, not averse to getting his hands wet.
He also knows how to have fun. And hell, he’s stationed in ****ing Paris. Women come and go, he’s not interested in domestic bliss and if he was, the job precludes it. He’s a shark. Which is why he’s got a thing for Mireille. Takes one to know one and he admires her skills and talents. Smith really wants and needs a woman who will be his equal. But they aren’t too thick on the ground. And even if you find one – they’re about as likely to settle down as you are… Catch 22.
When we meet Smith, he’s enjoying living a cover as a dissolute, gambling, drinking spy. He’s convinced Viktor he’s a double agent, betraying the West. He’s on top of his game and feels like he’s winning. The events of Episode One change all that.
His relationship with Mireille is friendly and full of sexual tension. Her relationship with John bothers him. Smith can’t, or doesn’t want to, believe they are in love, that Mireille will get out of the life. But he also can’t find an angle to it. A reason to call it false. It looks totally for real. He knows he should be happy for them, but deep down will miss Mireille and their secret life together… Deep down where he never admits to, he’s probably in love with her. We’ll know that way before he does.
In his late 30s, powerfully built, a shaven headed Algerian gangster who speaks French, he's the shark-like owner of the Libertine night club, where anything goes and any kind of high (including sexual) is available for a price. Yann's hooked in all over Paris and was formerly a fighter in the Algerian war. For a gangster he's got a code of honour which means everything to him. Volatile temper. Has a close, long standing partnership with Brigitte.
A fireball of intelligence, intensity and North African macho pride. Yann is a loaded gun always in danger of going off. Brigitte is the leash that holds him. Yet he is more than a thug – he holds the reins of a serious empire, Brigitte in the shadows behind.
Yann made his reputation fighting against the Vichy in North Africa during the war. A soldier of crazed bravery and unmatched savagery. He was determined to see of the Nazis and their sympathisers. After the war he killed the wrong man and had to flee to Paris where he was welcomed into the underworld and given a place by Brigitte. Soon feared and respected. His work for Brigitte became a partnership. The Libertine is their flagship and mask.
Now, via his North African connections, Yann runs the heroin trade in Paris with an iron fist. Much of the profit goes back to his Algerian comrades. Yann is a criminal and a gangster but he detests oppression and the strong overpowering the weak. Anyone in his field is fair game but he has scruples. He doesn’t encroach into other gangs’ endeavors if they leave him to his.
His relationship with Brigitte is deep and complicated. It has never been sexual though he is probably in love with her deep down. They are partners though their views differ on almost everything except making money. But he’d run into a burning building to save her hat if she told him to…
JOHN PHILIP LANCASTER III
28, hip, charismatic, and mischievous, a very good-looking American man, he's the son of a famed General, and heir to the Lancaster Armament Empire. A former war hero, John got screwed up in the Korean war and has a dark past as a junkie. His body is lean, bordering on skinny, and scarred. He still enjoys drink and drugs, but he's also ready to settle down with Mireille as his wife, until his vengeful ex, Alice, takes advantage of him while he's tripping on acid. John has no idea about Mireille's secret identity as the assassin "Noir"
Mireille’s ‘love interest’ across the first few episodes. He is the war hero son of a famous American general and industrialist. Of long WASP lineage. His father had plans for him to be the Kennedy of the 70s. Presidential material. The problem for John is the war that made him a hero – Korea – ****ed him up badly. And all he can see is world going down the same road again.
So John fled – America, his father, expectations, his nightmares – to Paris and the beginnings of an avant garde counter culture that rejects everything he is meant to stand for. John found solace and refuge in drugs and rink, music and humanity. Sex, sensation, pleasure.
There is an element of self loathing at the heart of this – at one point almost a death wish. Pushing his intake of all those things. Desperate to feel and yet avoid his deepest feelings. He’s the life and soul of a party because he doesn’t want to be alone. He’ll dive into group sex so he doesn’t have to have a one on one. Declaring himself a Libertine at odds with the world means he doesn’t have to connect with it.
The death of a girl in Berlin shook him – he almost died of the same overdose. Smith saved him (and his father) from serious embarrassment and probably prison. The two of them became friends. Initially because Smith had a babysitting brief, and later because they shared things in common. They both went through the same war. John isn’t ashamed. He’s fleeing expectation, the idea of being a hero when he feels like a coward. No one has any expectations of Smith, he deliberately stayed in a world where the things the war taught him are an advantage. And yet he shares the pursuit of intense pleasure – because he knows death can be just round the corner. Both men think “life is too short” but for very different reasons.
This friendship took John to Paris and an introduction to Mireille. He was blown away by this beautiful free spirit with no boundaries and no expectations. Mireille made sure of it. She let John see the damage in her past, allowing him to do the same. And then she didn’t judge him for any of it. She pursued her own pleasure with the same intensity – untroubled by expectations or what others think. She is exactly what he wishes to be. And she loves him right back. He wants to spend the rest of his life with her.
And we join them right after he proposed…
24, a stunning, jealous, and catty blonde American woman, "pure '60s sex appeal," not the brightest bulb, she's a model and cokehead who used to date John. She still loves him and can't understand why he chose Mireille over her. Alice takes advantage of John sexually while he's tripping on acid. Alice cares nothing about repercussions and doesn't really think ahead. Everything is about Alice getting what Alice wants...
Is a fly in the ointment. A crazy, sexy, funny one. She’s John’s ex, model and party animal. A forerunner of Anita Pallenberg or Kate Moss. Totally divorced from reality, her looks have been a passport to whatever she wants since the age of 5. Like she says “men having been trying to **** me since I was ten years old, and I’ve been letting them since I was 13.” She’s someone’s little princess gone totally off the rails.
John is the first person to reject her, making her love him all the more. She is obsessed with getting him back. Therefore, she hates Mireille and isn’t scared to show it. Can’t get why that blonde is any better than her.
Alice is that terrifying animal – someone who cares only about their own desires and will do anything to get them. Meantime she’ll snort every drug and down every drink presented to her. Sexually, she likes to push the envelope, and gets into a thing with Smith that he knows is stupid but can’t resist. All she wants is dirt on Mireille…
Thanks to Richard for the heads up.
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