by screenwriter Steven Knight
The story of the movie Allied has been sitting outside my office door like a stray dog for thirty years, waiting to get made.
I came across it while bumming around the United States. I had just left University and was working as a dishwasher, a decorator, even a ranch hand in cotton country. Halfway through my ramble across the country I found myself working at a cheap motel in Arkansas, painting rooms and cleaning kitchen equipment. I was lodging with an Englishwoman, a G.I. bride who’d gone to the States after the war. It was she who told me the story.
Her brother worked behind enemy lines in France during World War II. He was an officer in the SOE, the Special Operations Executive which carried out intelligence and sabotage missions in German held territory. He met and fell in love with a French woman who worked for the resistance. She became pregnant and when his tour of duty ended he asked special permission to bring her back to England.
Permission was granted. The baby was born. The former SOE agent took a desk job in a small town in the South of England as the allies prepared for D-Day. One morning he reported for work to be told by his superior officers that they had absolute proof that his wife, the mother of his child, was a spy working for the Germans. The suggestion was that she had been working for them since they met in France and that she was now passing pillow talk to Berlin by WT transceiver.
The SOE officer, who had left home a happily married man that morning, was ordered to return home and shoot his wife. He was handed a loaded revolver. What happened next is the story of the movie.
Four years ago I was working on a different project with Brad Pitt, and we met to discuss it in the chilly garden of a London hotel. The conversation turned to the Blitz and the Second World War, and the story of the SOE officer came out. Brad’s reaction encouraged me to finally get round to writing what would become Allied.
At last the stray dog is gone from my office door.