Assayas’ ‘Carlos the Jackal’ ready for both the Silver & Small Screen

A constant source of fascination and inspiration, our understanding of the “Jackal” was perhaps better served not in the trio of fiction films made about him (with Bruce Willis as the most recent impersonation) but in Barbet Schroeder’s Terror’s Advocate a couple of years back. Carlos the Jackal is both the subject, and title for Oliver Assayas’ latest project. The five month shoot took place in France, Germany and Lebanon with Che Part 1: The Argentine’s Edgar Ramirez plays the infamous Ramirez Sanchez. The TV drama made of three 90-minute episodes will also be released theatrically as a two-hour feature.

Co-written by Assayas and Dan Franck, this traces the life of Carlos (currently serving a life sentence in a French prison) from 1973-1994. Full of violence and secret-service manipulation, the story includes the 1974 bomb attack on the Publicis Drugstore in Paris, the 1975 hostage-taking of 11 OPEC ministers in Vienna and several planned assassinations. All this unfolds against a geopolitical backdrop encompassing the PLO, Japanese Red Army, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the USSR, East German Stasi, Hungary, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and, finally, Sudan where Carlos was arrested. For the full timeline on this fellow, check out the wiki page for him – he has quite the record.

I might be mistaken, I’ve seen every single one of Assayas film’s since Irma Vep including the encounter he had with Hou Hsiao-Hsien for HHH – Un portrait de Hou Hsiao-Hsien (1997), but this would be the first time the French filmmaker goes the biopic route. Assayas is coming off the critically adored Summer Hours and is set to direct the brilliant and beautiful Juliette Binoche once again in Les temps de venir.


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