By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 21, 2011 at 11:00AM
It's something that will become clear to most of you in the coming weeks, with the film finally opening in the U.S soon, but to reiterate what we've been saying for a while -- "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy" rocks. Meticulously made on every level, with a brace of impeccable performances, it works as both a gripping thriller and a moving character study, and it's one of the best films of the year. With the film already pretty much in the black thanks to a blockbuster box office showing in its native U.K where it opened back in September, anything from here on out is a bonus, and it looks like plans are starting to crystalize for a possible follow-up.
Reports emerged back in September that StudioCanal, who backed the project, were hoping to turn the film into a franchise, with Gary Oldman's middle-aged spy George Smiley at its center, and with the character featuring in a number of author John Le Carré's novels, there was plenty of material to choose from. The Playlist spoke to the film's director and writer, Tomas Alfredson and Peter Straughan, during press rounds for the film over the weekend, and the pair confirmed that early discussions are underway for a follow-up, and that they have an idea of the direction in which it might go.
When asked about a sequel, Afredson said that, "There are ideas, and plans, and intentions," before Straughan added, "John Le Carré's quite keen." As for the basis, the writer (who penned the 'Tinker Tailor' script with his late partner, Bridget O'Connor), echoed something that Gary Oldman said a few months back, suggesting that the so-called Karla Trilogy, which focuses on Smiley's hunt for his Soviet counterpart, was unlikely to be turned into three films.
"The obvious choice would be 'Smiley's People,' " Straughan said. "The second book in the trilogy is 'The Honourable Schoolboy' but it's set entirely in Hong Kong, and George Smiley's not a major character in it [the plot instead focuses on Jerry Westerby, the character played by 'Boardwalk Empire' star Stephen Graham in Alfredson's film], but it might be possible to take some material from that and combine it into 'Smiley's People' in the sequel."
Of course, things are still dependent on the box-office. If the film performs poorly in the U.S. and elsewhere, sequel plans may move onto the backburner. And it's not a confirmation that Alfredson and Straughan will certainly be back, although both seem keen at present. But we've certainly got our fingers crossed that we'll see "Smiley's People" on screen before too long. We'll have more from our interview with the director and writer, as well as stars Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, closer to the film's U.S. release date on December 9th, while Brits and multi-region Blu-ray types can look forward to the U.K. home video release on January 30th.