In its effort to ramp up feature films on its platform, Netflix has acquired Operation Mincemeat, a big-budget World War II thriller that stars such big names as Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Matthew Macfayden (Succession) and Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter saga). Operation Mincemeat will tell the true story of Ewen Montagu, the late British judge, Naval intelligence officer and spy who was among those who planned the eponymous military operation and was one of two agents who carried it out.
Oscar-nominated director John Madden, known for his work on Shakespeare in Love helmed the film which was first announced in May 2019. The script for Operation Mincemeat, adapted from the book of the same name by author and historian Ben Macintyre, was penned by Michelle Ashford who is best known for Showtime’s Masters of Sex. The film comes from See-Saw Films (The King’s Speech) and Cohen Media Group (Howard’s End) with producers Charles S. Cohen, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Kris Thykier.
Producers Canning and Sherman commented:
“Operation Mincemeat is a thrilling depiction of hope and high stakes daring that is all the more incredible for being based on a true story. It’s been wonderful to reunite with Colin again and we couldn’t be more delighted to continue our relationship with Netflix and to share John’s magnificent film with the world.”
Operation Mincemeat was not originally intended for a streaming network, but because of Covid and the state of cinema theaters today, Netflix struck a deal with See-Saw and Cohen Media Group to distribute the film in North and Latin America. Warner Bros have still the intention to release the film theatrically in the UK and Europe.
What is the plot of Operation Mincemeat?
Operation Mincemeat was a military deception operation carried out by the Allied Forces during World War II. Its aim was to disguise the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily as merely a feint, by planting false documents and correspondence on a corpse and faking the corpse’s identity as a fictional Captain of the army. The corpse along with the documents was released from a submarine near the shores of Spain to be discovered by Spain and the documents were shared with the Germans, making them believe that the main target of the Allies would be Greece. The operation proved to be successful, as even Adolf Hitler was deceived by the plan and didn’t provide enough forced to defend Sicily while the Allied forces were liberating it.
The operation was planned and carried out by Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew MacFayden). It was, however, inspired by The Trout Memo from 1939, issued under the name of Admiral John Godfrey, Britain’s director of naval intelligence, but written by Ian Fleming, who is best known for creating the iconic gentleman spy James Bond. The memo details 54 ways how an enemy may be lured or trapped much like a trout.
After the war, Ewen Montagu wrote a book about the whole operation titled The Man Who Never Was. The book was later adapted into a 1956 film of the same name. Netflix’s adaptation, however, takes author and historian Ben Mcintyre’s Operation Mincemeat book as the source material for the film.
Director of Netflix’s Operation Mincemeat, John Madden commented:
“In the context of WW2 narratives, the story of Operation Mincemeat is unique – a bizarre and seductive cinematic blend of high-level espionage and ingenious fiction, where the stakes could hardly be higher. Michelle Ashford’s script fuses multiple strands and moods: tense, romantic, thrilling, unexpectedly funny, and endlessly surprising. It tells a richly human story of the soldiers we seldom see, who fight a different kind of war in shadows and deception, haunted by the knowledge that certainty and guarantee of success are nowhere to be found.”
Who is cast in Operation Mincemeat?
Netflix’s Operation Mincemeat is led by Colin Firth, who won an Oscar for his performance in The King’s Speech. He will be joined by Matthew Macfayden (Succession, Ripper Street). The two will portray the two masterminds behind Operation Mincemeat: Ewen Montagu and Charles Cholmondeley. They will be joined by Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, No Country for Old Men) who will portray Marine officer Jean Leslie.
The three leads will be joined by Simon Russell Beale (The Death of Stalin, Penny Dreadful), Johnny Flynn (Vanity Fair, Genius), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The OA) as Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming and John Godfrey respectively.
What is the production status on Operation Mincemeat?
Current production status: Post-production (Last updated: 03/04/2021)
Netflix’s Operation Mincemeat entered production in December 2019 and wrapped in Spring 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming took place in the UK and Spain. Here is a selection of set photos via DailyMail, including from the Sicily invasion shoot at the Saunton Sands, UK:
And here is a brief video where we can see Colin Firth along with his costars in their uniforms:
What is the release date for Operation Mincemeat?
As of March 2021, Netflix hasn’t announced the release date for Operation Mincemeat yet, but knowing that the production is complete, we can assume it will be sooner rather than later. Also, keep in mind that the release must be in agreement with Warner Bros as they hold the distribution rights to the film in the UK and Europe. They could, however, also decide to release the film on HBO Max as they have previously stated that their streaming platform would eventually come to Europe in the second half of 2021.
Are you looking forward to watching Operation Mincemeat on Netflix? Let us know in the comments.