LONDON — Judi Dench is back in the world of espionage, but her latest film role is a far cry from James Bond’s unflappable spy chief, M.

In “Red Joan,” Dench plays an elderly British woman whose quiet suburban life is upended when police come knocking, accusing her of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Directed by stage and film veteran Trevor Nunn, “Red Joan” is based on the true story of “Granny Spy” Melita Norwood, a civil servant living in the London suburbs who passed nuclear secrets to Moscow for decades.

Dench says the fictional Joan is convinced she is acting in the name of peace, by “evening up” the nuclear arms race.

Dench played M in seven Bond films from “Goldeneye” to “Skyfall.”



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