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Operation Mincemeat - What We Know So Far

It's always fun to try to condense the premise of a movie in one or two sentences. It's even more fun to see someone do it as well as the NetflixFilm Twitter account's elevator pitch for "Operation Mincemeat," an upcoming World War II-themed espionage movie: "Two British officers try to turn the tide of World War II by recruiting an unlikely agent: a dead man." 

If that somehow doesn't tickle your fancy, here's where things get even more interesting. Despite its curiously "Weekend at Bernie's"-like premise, "Operation Mincemeat" is actually based on a true story about one of the most messed-up things that actually happened during World War II. In fact, the strange plot that involved a dead body was instrumental in the Allies' war efforts in 1943. 

The process involved some of the finest minds of the era's espionage, and as it happens, the film version also involves some of the finest talent around. There are some mighty fine actors, and the whole thing is directed by none other than John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.") Let's find out what we know about the movie so far!

What's the release date of Operation Mincemeat?

There's still no precise release date for "Operation Mincemeat," but judging by Netflix's release trends, it's possible to gain some insight into the movie's potential release window. For reference, a comparable upcoming Netflix movie might be Jeymes Samuel's star-studded Western "The Harder They Fall." That film was announced in summer 2019, and the action-packed second trailer confirmed that the movie will premiere on Netflix come November 3. Assuming "Operation Mincemeat" was announced recently and that it will follow a similar production cycle, this would mean a late 2022 released date, or possibly even early 2023.

That being said, it does appear that "Operation Mincemeat" is a little further along the road to completion than you might assume. In fact, the movie was already announced in May 2019 (per Deadline), and in March 2021, Deadline reported that Netflix had acquired the rights for its North and Latin American release. As such, you can likely expect "Operation Mincemeat" to be pretty much ready to go at this point, so the release date might very well be in early 2022 ... or perhaps even in late 2021, if Netflix is feeling gracious. As the NetflixFilm Twitter account put it: "Coming soon."

Who's in the cast of Operation Mincemeat?

According to the official announcement on the NetflixFilm Twitter account, the biggest name in the cast is the Academy Award-winning "The King's Speech" star, Colin Firth. He knows a thing or two about playing military officers and espionage experts, thanks to roles in movies like "The Railway Man," "1917," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," and the "Kingsman" franchise. Firth plays Ewen Montagu, one half of the crack intelligence team behind the real-life Operation Mincemeat (via The Times). 

Matthew Macfadyen of "Ripper Street" fame plays Montagu's partner, Charles Cholmondeley. Funnily enough, both Firth and Macfadyen have portrayed Jane Austen's esteemed heartthrob character Mr. Darcy onscreen — Firth in the 1995 BBC "Pride and Prejudice" miniseries, and Macfadyen in the 2005 film version. 

The two other stars the announcement mentioned are Kelly Macdonald ("Trainspotting," "No Country for Old Men," "Boardwalk Empire"), who plays Jean Leslie, and "Genius" star Johnny Flynn, who plays Ian Fleming. You might know Fleming as the creator of and partial inspiration for James Bond – and a real-life spy himself. Other notable actors who appear in the movie include "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock" star Mark Gatiss, and Jason Isaacs of "Harry Potter" and "Star Trek: Discovery" fame.  


What's the plot of Operation Mincemeat?

The plot of "Operation Mincemeat" is based on a real-life World War II intelligence operation of the same name, which was just as odd as the name implies (via the BBC). The British plan was put together by two officers who acquired a body of a dead vagrant called Glyndwr Michael, and equipped it with a bunch of fake documents and an elaborately crafted fake identity of a British Major. 

After months of careful preparations, the decomposing remains were planted in the sea near Spain's coast, in a Hail Mary effort to get Nazi spies to find the forged papers. This, the British intelligence officers hoped, would lead the German higher-ups to move their army to a tactically vulnerable position. Of course, such a strange plan couldn't possibly wrap up in a straightforward manner, and the operation ultimately involved all sorts of twists and turns. 

History buffs may very well know how the story ends, but we won't venture to spoiler territory. Rest assured, though, that the tale is extremely movie-worthy, and that "Operation Mincemeat" has plenty of potential to be a greatly entertaining movie.