The Russo Brothers, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Richard Madden give us some deets on Prime Video’s new show, Citadel.
The spy thriller has been done, redone, rebooted, rehashed, and re-everything. James Bond himself undergoes a reboot every few films. Mission Impossible makes use of Tom Cruise’s trademark craziness. The Bourne Identity was gritty, I guess? Those are all established IPs, of course, and it’s almost impossible to think what a new title could bring to the genre
Yet that’s what Citadel is setting out to do. An original in the midst of reboots and remakes, the Prime Video series, set to premiere on April 28 seeks to do something that no spy thriller—or really any series—has ever done before: establish a story that spans the globe.
[Hero image: Prime Video]
The Russos, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Richard Madden on making Citadel
A global story
Citadel revolves around two spies played by Priyanka Chopra-Jonas and Richard Madden who work for the show’s namesake spy agency, an agency that bears no allegiance to any country. However, the agency falls, thwarted by a spy syndicate called Manticore. Years later, the two spies have no recollection of their former lives but are thrust back into the world of espionage.
What makes this series unique is the fact that Prime Video is calling Citadel the “flagship show”. The plan is to have other countries make spinoffs locally that would add and also affect the story as a whole. In fact, an Indian and Italian series is already in the works.
From superheroes to spies
In a digital press conference, Prime Video brought together some of Citadel’s creative team and cast where they dished on the things audiences can expect from the upcoming series. With a story that’s interconnected between different characters and countries, it makes sense that the pair steering this ship are none other than the Russo Brothers, who serve as executive producers. If they were able to tackle the daunting task of juggling a myriad of characters in two Avengers films, this should be familiar to them.
“The concept was an idea that Jen Salke [head of Amazon Studios] presented to us a few years ago,” Joe Russo explained. The concept, he said, was a “story that could be interwoven throughout the world. It would have a flagship show and then regional shows… written, produced and directed by regional talent that could interweave with the flagship show.”
“We thought that it was such a novel idea for a narrative, and it’s an amazing way to create a really diverse global community of storytellers to tell a giant mosaic of a narrative together. After our work on the Marvel films and spending so much time travelling the globe, this was an idea I think was really exciting to us and seemed like an incredible challenge.”
Anthony Russo, meanwhile, described the show as “ambitious and wide-ranging and so global in its nature”. He continued, “As storytellers, we really love the engagement of the global film community. It’s an incredible opportunity and we went to work trying to find the right story that could sort of fulfil that ambition and we’ve had amazing collaborators in order to find that.”
The spies who loved me
The show’s main stars, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden, also teased what audiences could expect from the series. “I think the show has so many layers and complexities,” said Chopra Jonas. “What you see is what you don’t get. Don’t believe what you see. Everything is just conceptually crazy.”
Madden spoke about how the show balances action and drama, or rather how it fires on all cylinders for both. “Oftentimes, we see shows that are 80 per cent drama, 20 per cent action or vice versa. But this show aimed to be 100 per cent of both.” Madden said. “For me, that’s what was so exciting about these huge action pieces was that they are infused with heart and drama and storytelling.”
We’ll have to wait and see whether the novel idea pays off on April 28 when Citadel premieres on Prime Video.