In last year’s The Queen, director Stephen Frears, writer Peter Morgan, and actor Michael Sheen impressed audiences with their sharp, insightful take on the behind-closed-doors machinations of Tony Blair. Turns out, these collaborators had had some practice. On Thursday night (11/8), HBO will air The Deal — Frears, Morgan, and Sheen’s other Blair movie, from 2003.
While The Queen was set early in Blair’s tenure as prime minister, The Deal focuses on the years before his ascension, when as an MP he battled his friend and mentor (and now successor) Gordon Brown for control of the Labour Party’s future. It is a tribute to the talents of these artists (joined by David Morrissey as Brown) that although the outcome of the story is never in doubt, the tension, and inevitable heartbreak, are palpable.
Politics, in the words of The Deal, is about “the ugly business of making friends” — and so, really, is a good deal of big-business filmmaking. Luckily, the creative friendship of Sheen, Morgan, and Frears isn’t over yet: Their third collaboration, about the relationship between Blair and Bill Clinton, is currently in the works.
HBO and check local listings for The Deal
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