By Simon Dang | The Playlist July 20, 2011 at 2:56AM
Author John Le Carre & Cast Discuss The Adaptation
With the breathtaking trailer and poster combo recently unveiled, our excitement for Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of John Le Carre's "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" is sky high at the moment. Adding to that is the expectation that the film will pop up in one, or both, of the line ups for the Venice (having been invited to open) and Toronto International Film Festivals when they're announced in the coming weeks.
The Daily Mail has now unveiled a whole heap of photos from the adaptation, with Le Carre and some cast members adding their own two cents about the film. Obviously, with a film of this nature, the line between details and spoilers is finer than ever so if you're wanting to come into this a clean slate, we'd recommend that you just skim the pictures below. Having read all the articles and never having seen the BBC adaptation or read the book, however, this writer doesn't feel like there's much to it with only first act-type plot details revealed.
'Tinker, Tailor,' of course, follows a British Intelligence operative, George Smiley (Oldman), whose task it is to delve into the world of Cold War espionage and root out a Soviet mole in the Circus, the highest echelon in the British Intelligence Services. There's a stellar cast involved -- pretty much a who's who of British talent at the moment -- including Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong, Svetlana Khodchenko, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Stephen Graham and Kathy Burke.
"In 'Tinker, Tailor' these guys are all hardbitten, highly trained, extremely unsentimental and all somehow disappointed idealists or bruised," Oscar-winner Firth noted. "I play (London Station chief) Bill Haydon, one of the five people at the top of the operation at the Circus who could be the mole. Haydon has a lighter approach than the others; he’s a joker and somewhat predatory and he’s known to be a bit of a boy when it comes to the girls – and indeed the boys. There’s a sense of mischief and sleaze about him, but he’s also charming and urbane."
Co-star Cumberbatch added to Firth's idea of the characters in Le Carre's story, claiming that "spying in 'Tinker, Tailor' is about very lonely men in a very high-pressure job, and the absence of women isn't just the mark of the workplace in the early Seventies, but it's also very much to do with how emotionally retarded these men are. It's a mark of the many sacrifices I think they made."
Following up from his role in BBC's modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes character, the actor revealed he'll play "Peter Guillam. My cover has been blown during an operation in North Africa and I've come back with my tail between my legs. I had been high up as an operative and then I'm demoted to run a branch of the service called the scalphunters at the Circus... One of Peter's contacts, Ricki Tarr (Hardy), comes to him with a claim that there is a mole operating at the heart of the Circus, and Peter takes it to the civil servant in charge of the intelligence service. George Smiley is brought back from retirement to investigate from the outside, and Peter is his man on the inside."
One question that will no doubt be brought up upon the release of Alfredson's film is how this version compares to the original BBC adaptation, which featured Alec Guinness in an iconic performance as Smiley.The novel's author Le Carre has preemptively responded, noting that "the original story was adapted for television in seven episodes. The film has to tell the story again with a great deal less sentiment. The ethics and the affections have shifted: it’s sexier, grittier."
And how does Oldman's highly-touted performance compare to Guiness' for Le Carre? "People will ask, but I wouldn’t for one minute allow myself to compare Guinness with Oldman. Gary has an extraordinary command of himself as an actor. I’m hypnotised by his performance: he steps right outside himself. With Oldman, you share the pain and the danger of life more, the danger of being who he is. It’s a much tougher Smiley, with – here and there, as it is in most of us – a little cruelty." There you have it.
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" hits theaters on November 18th through Focus Features in what is expected to be an award-season threatening release.