But for Park Chan-wook, there was an added hurdle: directing the cast and crew without speaking any English.
The South Korean auteur relied on an interpreter to convey his vision for the six-part drama, which begins next Sunday on BBC One. Set in the 1970s, it stars Florence Pugh as a young actress recruited by Mossad to infiltrate the PLO.
The result, according to the cast, was a resounding success, with all agreeing that the language barrier was swiftly overcome.
“Park Chan-wook doesn’t speak English, although I think he understands more than he lets on," said Charles Dance, who plays a British intelligence officer. "Having a director from a totally different culture is a great idea and the fact that he doesn’t speak English is not a hindrance at all. He has a wonderful eye.”
Daniel Litman, who plays a Mossad agent, said: "Director Park is an amazing person. He doesn’t speak English, he speaks Korean, and yet you listen to him even though you don’t understand what he’s saying.”
Park approached the production company responsible for Le Carre adaptations after reading a new Korean translation of The Little Drummer Girl. He hoped to adapt it for the big screen, but was persuaded to make it for television.
The director, who made his English language debut in 2013 with Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman, said being Korean gives him an understanding of Le Carre's works.
Korea "is probably one of the last divided nations, the root of which is found in the Cold War. Maybe I have an affinity with Cold War-set stories," he said.
OP's note: Although I liked Stoker, it didn't come near The Vengeance Trilogy for me.
I'm very excited about this new project though.
On a similar note (kinda), is anyone watching Ms. Ma, Nemesis