It's been a long time since John Le Carré's literary hero George Smiley has been seen on screen, either big or small, but with Focus Features' Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the English language debut for Tomas Alfredson, director of the highly acclaimed Swedish vampire flick Let the Right One In, he's back, this time played by Gary Oldman in what many are considering his strongest performances in years.
In this movie, Smiley is looking for a mole in the Secret Service, one that is sharing information with the Russians, compromising their every move, and surrounding Oldman as fellow agents is one of the finest casts in recent memory, including recent Oscar winner Colin Firth, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy, Ciaran Hinds and more.
A few weeks back, ComingSoon.net attended the New York junket for the film and in the video interviews below, we spoke with Oldman, Firth and director Tomas Alfredson about how each of them came to the project, their own relation to John Le Carré and the Cold War, how Oldman prepared to play a secret agent significantly older than he really is and more.
Since Oldman hasn't been out and about promoting a film in quite some time, we wondered whether he had any idea that him playing George Smiley would be getting so much attention and awards accolades. "No, you just go and make another film," he admitted. "We knew that we had something special. It's not every day that you get a script like this, Tomas and the cast and the opportunity to play a role like Smiley. Yeah, you kind of sense that it's got something going, but there's two components actually to the whole thing - You don't know what the reviews are going to be like and they could kill you, and you don't know if there's an audience. I know that there's an audience for 'The Dark Knight Rises,' but generally and especially for an indie movie - and 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier,' it's an indie. Universal wouldn't touch it, they have a title with Working Title, but it was understandable why. It's a spy genre thing set in the '70s, first English speaking film (for the director), but you just go in for another day's work."
When Oldman told us the producers have been talking about doing another movie with George Smiley based on John Le Carré's "Smiley's People," which you can read about here, we asked how it felt returning to play Jim Gordon for Christopher Nolan.
"It's the third time I've played him, and it's the last probably I would think. I've retired Jim," he told us. "They may make a fourth and a fifth, but I think we're as a team done, but it's great revisiting. It's like family. All the same people are there, really, pretty much the same crew."
And on how each of the Batman movies has received more and more attention, he said, "Yeah, it's a phenomenon, and you don't even know that going in. When we were making the first one, we were just making another Batman movie, he's trying to reinvent it or give it new life, but there's no guarantees. You can do the best you can, do your work well, and hopefully people are like-minded."