Sep 14, 2011

Tinker Tailor Sequel Talk

Tinker Tailor Sequel Talk

At the UK premiere of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (video on IMDb), star Gary Oldman (George Smiley) and author John Le Carré discussed the possibility of another Smiley movie. "If this was a success, if it enjoys some commercial success, then I think that they may make another one, and I would definitely come back as Smiley, yeah," Oldman told a reporter on the red carpet. "It's Smiley's People, isn't it?" I'm not sure if that last remark was actually intended as an indication that they would skip The Honourable Schoolboy and go straight to the third novel in the so-called "Karla Trilogy," as the BBC did with Alec Guinness, or if he was merely pointing out that any follow-up would definitely involve Smiley, whose name is in the title of the third book. Personally, I very much hope that they don't skip The Honourable Schoolboy this time around, as it's a wonderful book that I'd very much like to see filmed. It's not as much Smiley's story as the other two, but with all the trimming that will be necessary to turn the massive tome into a two-hour(ish) movie, that could easily be changed. At any rate, this is the first time I've heard anyone associated with the production speculate about a sequel.

After referring to Oldman as "a very happy bunny" (an expression I found amusing enough to bear repeating), Le Carré himself added to the sequel speculation. "I think it's an open secret; it's a twinkle in the eye of Working Title, and it's certainly a twinkle in Gary's eye, but it's got to be good next time around. It can't just be... Tinker Tailor 2." While that kind of sounds like a slight in print, he definitely doesn't seem to intend it as one in person. But his phrasing is curious. Is he opening the door for an original follow-up not based on one of his books... or merely electing not to mention any specific titles? As to this particular adaptation, he says, "I wanted the film of the film and not the film of the book, and that's exactly what we got." I think that's an excellent way to look at it, and despite my desire for fidelity to the source material, I know that I won't be going into the movie expecting it to directly translate a text that couldn't even be entirely contained within a 7-hour miniseries!

Oldman also discussed the character qualities that first attracted him to Smiley. "You tend to get a little typecast and I play these characters that express their emotions... physically. And so, it was lovely to sort of dial it... really, make it an internal thing and sort of dial it all back. That was one of the attractions of doing it."

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opens this Friday in the UK, but American audiences won't get to see it until December.


blakewest said...

Holy moly! I just found your blog and I see that I have some catch up reading to do. Looking forward to it!

Just completed Tinker... the other day, and I'm looking forward to the film. Maybe I should locate the BBC series before the US premiere.


Tanner said...

Thanks, Blakewest! Welcome! I hope you enjoy your catching up.

The extra three months we have to wait here in America will probably do you some good if you just finished the book, I'd think. I'd been debating re-reading Tinker (or listening to that free audiobook) before the film, but I think it would only hurt my potential enjoyment of the film to have the book TOO fresh in my head. But it shouldn't hurt to watch the miniseries now, with plenty of breathing room before the movie, I wouldn't think! And it is a fantastic mini.

I guess you're in the enviable position of getting to choose who you want your first screen Smiley to be! As a sociological experiment, it actually might be interesting to start with Oldman. But do be sure to get around to Guinness eventually! And please let us know what you think when you do...