Feb 10, 2013

Update On Le Carre Movies in Development, Including Smiley Sequel

Screen Daily (via Dark Horizons) has an update on a pair of John le Carré movies from StudioCanal that we've been eagerly following for a while: Our Kind of Traitor and the sequel to 2011's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. We already knew that Australian director Justin Kurzel was helming the adaptation of Traitor, le Carré's most recent novel to date (though there's another one coming this year!), and that Bond alumni Mads Mikkelson and Ralph Fiennes were attached to star (as the charismatic Russian gangster Dima and the zealous British intelligence chief Hector, respectively). Now the trade reports that Ewan McGregor has signed on to star as Perry, a young, tenure-track English academic adrift, searching for something apparently unattainable that will make him what he calls a "formed man." His girlfriend, Gail, is the crucial role yet to be cast. And she's a great character—perhaps the author's best female character to date. It's a terrific part awaiting some very lucky actress. (Jessica Chastain was rumored at one point.) Production on the $35 million movie is scheduled for a summer start in Moscow, Marrakesh, Paris, London and Switzerland. Producer Simon Cornwell (le Carré's son) pointed out to Screen that unlike Tinker Tailor and the upcoming A Most Wanted Man (starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Our Kind of Traitor focuses on "an everyman couple" caught up in the treacherous world of espionage, promising "exciting scale and accessibility." So far, this is shaping up to look like another fantastic le Carré adaptation!

Meanwhile, Screen also pressed StudioCanal Chairman and CEO Olivier Courson for an update on the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Confirming what many others involved have already indicated, that they will follow the BBC's example and sadly skip the stellar middle volume in the Karla Trilogy, The Honourable Schoolboy, Courson revealed, “We are working on Smiley’s People with Working Title. It’s still at the development stage - but, yes, the old team of Peter Straughan and Tomas Alfredson is back together. The same Tinker Tailor actors whose characters would reappear are well aware of what we’re doing. We’re hopeful for a 2014 shoot.” Well, I would have dearly liked to see Schoolboy finally filmed, but the fact that the studio and the same creative team remain committed to filming another Smiley movie is still fantastic news indeed! They did an amazing job on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (read my review here), and I can't wait to see Gary Oldman slip into Smiley's spectacles once more.

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