Published: Friday, 28 April 2023 11:29 | Written by Jamie Ruby
Today, Prime Video premieres the spy thriller Citadel, the first part of a global franchise of series that will span the globe with interconnected stories. Executive produced by the Russo Brothers’ AGBO, Citadel tells the story of the global spy agency that works to protect the safety and security of citizens from all countries but was destroyed eight years ago by a manipulating syndicate called Manticore. As Citadel fell, agents Mason Kane (Richard Madden) and Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) had their memories remotely wiped as they barely escaped. Unaware of his past, Kane is tracked down by former colleague Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci) to help stop Manticore from establishing a new world order. Kane must find Sinh and get her to remember, so they can embark on a global mission to stop them, all while dealing with a relationship fraught with secrets and lies.
SciFi Vision recently spoke with writer David Weil about his work on the landmark series, of which he said to expect the unexpected. “The tagline is so true,” he told the site. “ ‘Everything you know is a lie’ with the series, but there's great romance at the heart of it. It's a story about memory, about duality and alter ego, and then it's a thrill ride…You will be flying by the seat of your pants, and it's a great high-octane intriguing spy thriller.”
Watch the full interview or read the transcript below where Weil discusses where the idea came from, difficulties they faced, a bit about the collaborative aspects of the franchise, and more. The first two episodes of Citadel are available to stream on Prime Video, starting today.
SCIFI VISION: I'm not sure if this was originally your idea or someone else's, so just tell me sort of how you became involved in the project? DAVID WEIL:Absolutely. So, Citadel really originated with Jenn Salke. It was her idea to do a global tale of some kind where there was an English language component, [and] there were foreign language components and series, and she called Joe and Anthony [Russo] with this idea. Together, they really sort of created this notion of, the spy genre is so organic to global storytelling, and in a very unforced way.
So, I came on about a year and a half ago. I was sort of fresh eyes, I think, to the process. That was sort of very liberating and exciting, where they had been working on this for a period of time, but I was able to come in without sort of the baggage of ideas or thoughts or different things, and just say, “Hey, have you tried this?” Or, “what do you think about that?” And during that process, it just became this sort of “yes and,” and it grew and grew. So, it's just been an amazing collaboration. I think we've created something altogether [that’s] been a massive collaboration, so many different entities at play here, but it's been such a thrill. I’m so proud of what Citadel is. Can you quickly just sort of tell fans what they can expect? Just a quick tease. Oh my gosh, expect the unexpected. The tagline is so true. “Everything you know is a lie” with the series, but there's great romance at the heart of it. It's a story about memory, about duality and alter ego, and then it's a thrill ride. I mean, these are forty minute episodes. You will be flying by the seat of your pants, and it's a great high-octane intriguing spy thriller. It looks so great, too. I assume there's a pretty big budget, at least it sure looks like it anyway. If so, were there any other restraints? What were some of the difficulties? Because I'm assuming that probably wasn't one of the top ones, for this one, at least? Well, filming started while COVID was still sort of at its peak, and that's always a big challenge, especially for a global show like this where we actually go around the world and want to have this feel as authentic as possible. Budgets always [are] a constraint, and, I think, actually having constraints is great. I think some of the most interesting, creative choices comes when you can't do something, or when you're not able to do something in some way. But a production of this scope and scale, I think, has the same challenges as something even smaller, but also great opportunity and a huge canvas to play on. I've never played in such a big sandbox before I had read that there're some spin offs and things going on, are you going to be involved in the writing of those as well, or just this series? So, there are incredible creators and writers in Italy and in India. I will be a producer on those series, along with AGBO, the Russos. Really, I think what is so special about Citadel is this sort of global element. Every other week, we have a global writers room where myself and some of the other writers for the US Series, the Italian creators, the Indian creators, we all get together. We talk about ideas; we talk about the character backstories. We're really building at the same time this grand tapestry and this new IP in Citadel. Were you involved in casting at all? Yes, certain roles, and this cast is absolutely extraordinary.