By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com October 22, 2010 at 1:33AM
75% Of British Actors Now Employed By Spy Thriller
It's Friday, and Friday can only mean one thing: it's time for the now-weekly updates on the cast of Working Title's new adaptation of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," courtesy of Baz Bamigboye from the Daily Mail! Bamigboye's been on top of the comings and goings in the Tomas Alfredson-helmed spy project all year. While a number of actors, including Ralph Fiennes, Michael Fassbender and David Thewlis were linked to the project, but dropped out for a variety of reasons, almost all the other casting confirmations, which include Gary Oldman as lead George Smiley, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong, Jared Harris and Svetlana Khodchenko, have all come from the writer's Friday column in the United Kingdom's worst newspaper.
Filming's been underway for a few weeks now, but that doesn't mean that the news has dried up, as Bamigboye's back with what we assume is a final update. Firstly, as had been assumed for a little while now, the casting of "Mad Men" star Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty in Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes 2" has created a scheduling conflict with his role in Alfredson's film, and he's had to drop out of the role of Percy Alleline, the head of 'the Circus,' the spy division that the film focuses on.
It's unfortunate, but they couldn't have found a better replacement, as Bamigboye reports that Toby Jones has taken on the role. Probably best known for playing Truman Capote in "Infamous," Jones has become an omnipresent character actor in the last few y ears, cropping up in the likes of "The Mist," "Frost/Nixon," "W" and "Creation," and he's likely to be even more prominent next year, reprising his mo-cap role in "Harry Potter" as Dobby the House Elf, as well as appearing in both Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin," and as villain Arnim Zola in "Captain America." We're huge fans, and we couldn't be happier that he's on board: Jones is a perfect pick for the role.
The great John Hurt will play Control, the former head of the Circus, and Alleline's former rival, while Stephen Graham ("This Is England," "Boardwalk Empire") and TV veteran Roger Lloyd-Pack ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "Made in Dagenham") have also joined the cast, along with the previously rumored David Dencik ("The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"). The latter three names have been listed on IMDB for a few weeks, along with Konstantin Khabenskiy ("Night Watch"), Christian McKay ("Me and Orson Welles") and Simon McBurney ("The Last King of Scotland"). There's no official word on the latter three, but even if they turn out not to be involved (and we rather hope they are), it's still an astonishingly exciting cast.
One further addition is in the key role of intelligence analyst Connie, played in particularly memorable fashion by veteran actress Beryl Reid in the original BBC version; in a surprising piece of casting, she'll be played by Kathy Burke in Alfredson's version. A TV comedy veteran in the UK, best known for her work with Harry Enfield, Burke's probably most familiar in the States for playing Queen Mary in Shekhar Kapur's "Elizabeth," and for her astonishing performance in Gary Oldman's "Nil By Mouth," which won her the Best Actress award at Cannes in 1997. Burke's been absent from screens for some time now, preferring to focus on theater direction, but she's tempted back to acting by this project, and she's an inspired choice -- and one likely to be very different from Reid in the original.
Some sad news also came from the project this week, however, as it emerged earlier in the week that the co-writer of the film, Bridget O'Connor, passed away at the end of September. O'Connor was a noted playwright, who was behind the excellent stage play "The Flags," and co-wrote the 'Tinker Tailor' script, as well as underrated Britflicks "Sixty Six" and "Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution," and the as-yet unmade Doug Liman version of "The Three Musketeers," with husband Peter Straughan. Our thoughts are with Straughan and the rest of O'Connor's family, and we'd like to think that she'd be delighted with the cast who've been assembled to honor her memory and her work.