Dec 14, 2012
Smiley Sequel Still in the Works
Last year, while doing the press rounds promoting Tomas Alfredson's brilliant Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (review here), both star Gary Oldman and screenwriter Peter Straughan (who penned the film with his late wife Bridget O'Connor) let slip that they'd be keen on making a sequel. Both men mentioned John le Carré's third novel in the so-called "Karla Trilogy," Smiley's People, as the likely inspiration for such, skipping over the brilliant middle novel, The Honourable Schoolboy, just like the BBC did decades ago with their miniseries. That's a shame, because in my opinion Schoolboy would make a great film. Straughan told me that the main reason for that was the same as the BBC's reason in the Eighties: the high cost associated with shooting on location in Hong Kong, where the bulk of the novel takes place. It would be even worse now than it was then, as the story is now a period piece. But he did say that a potential follow-up film would likely incorporate certain aspects of The Honourable Schoolboy into the overall story of Smiley's People. A lot of websites keep perpetuating the notion that Smiley isn't much of a presence in Schoolboy, and cite that as the reason it will likely be skipped. That's baloney. While it's true that Jerry Westerby is the main character in the book, Smiley sees just about as much action in Schoolboy as he did in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. It's a longer book. It could easily be adapted in such a way as to focus on the Smiley sections, thus beefing up Oldman's role. But all that's moot because of the cost issue anyway. Sadly.
So that was a year ago. Since then, a lot of time has passed without any further mention of a Smiley sequel. I was starting to fear that it had fallen by the wayside. But luckily Collider (via Dark Horizons) was recently on the spot to get a comment from producer Eric Fellner, and he assured them that work on the follow-up continues apace, albeit quietly! "We are working on another one," Fellner told the website. "Tim Bevan [his producing partner] is putting it together as we speak with Peter Straughan and Tomas Alfredson, so yes it’s in development." Hurrah! I'm happy to hear it! "But things take time," he then adds. "Tim is passionate about making sure we do another one." Well, thank you, Tim! Schoolboy or Smiley's People, I can't wait to see Alfredson return to le Carré's Circus and Oldman reprise his role as the inimitable spymaster George Smiley.