Otto Farrant stars in first IMDb TV series ‘Alex Rider’

Step back, James Bond — it’s time for Alex Rider.

The fictional teen spy, who’s the subject of bestselling novels and a 2006 movie (starring Alex Pettyfer) is now the star of a TV series

“Alex Rider,” premiering Friday (Nov. 13), is the first original drama for IMDb TV (Amazon’s free streaming service). It follows a London boy who’s pulled into a world of intrigue and espionage following the death of his guardian.

“I read the books when I was younger. I wasn’t a big reader; it took a lot for me to pick up a book, but I loved them,” says Otto Farrant, 23, who stars as Alex.

“When I got the call to say ‘Do you want to go and audition?’ I thought maybe I’m too old to play the role now,” he says. “But if they believed in me and I believed in myself, [I thought] we could pull it off.”

Based on a series that spans a whopping thirteen novels to date, “Alex Rider” begins when Alex’s uncle Ian (Andrew Buchan, “Broadchurch”) is killed. While Alex grew up under the impression that Ian was a banker, it’s revealed that he was secretly an M16 agent. Following  his untimely death, an M16 subdivision called The Department of Special Operations recruits Alex to infiltrate a controversial “corrective academy” for ultra-rich teens that Ian had been investigating.

Stephen Dillane (“Game of Thrones”) and Vicky McClure co-star as heads of the Department who work with Alex.

“That’s a pretty dark place to start from, in terms of the direction of the show,” says the England-born Farrant, who’s also appeared in “The White Queen” and “War & Peace.”

“They wanted to age it up for the audience as well, so it’s not just aimed at teens. I was really interested in the idea of bringing the grit out in it. It’s this dark situation where you’ve got a teenager who’s being blackmailed to essentially do an adult’s job and be in an adult world, especially after he’s lost his final relative.

“The books are for teenagers, and I know for myself as a teen [that] what I wanted to watch was something that felt a little bit dangerous that my parents were on the fence about, whether it was age-appropriate,” he says. “I think the show treads that line quite well. Younger audiences will be excited that it feels adult, and adult audiences will enjoy it, too.”

To prepare for the role, Farrant marathoned classic movies in the genre.

“I went through all the [Jason] Bournes, ‘Sicario,’ the ‘Mission Impossible’ movies, the [James] ‘Bonds’ as well. And then I went back and watched some of the shows that I watched as a teenager,” he says. “Things like ‘Misfit’ and ‘Skins.’ Great sort of gritty teenage shows.”

Although “Alex Rider” is an action-packed thriller, Farrant says he was particularly interested in Alex’s emotional journey.

“It’s a show about a young boy who is learning who to trust and how to express himself and how to deal with the feelings that he has — and the situations that life has put him in,” he says. “I think that’s a really positive story to tell at the moment, when there aren’t enough young men able to express themselves and communicate their feelings to other people.”

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