Jun 30, 2011

Gary Oldman On Becoming Smiley

While we're on the subject of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy today (thanks to the awesome teaser trailer that just debuted), Gary Oldman recently shared some insights with The Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye about his upcoming performance as George Smiley in Tomas Alfredson's eagerly anticipated John Le Carré adaptation. "I’ve played so many of these big extrovert characters," he told the columnist, admitting it was the prospect of doing "something that is so still, so quiet" that attracted him to the part of the quiet, pudgy, physically unremarkable yet brilliant, and, occasionally, ruthless spymaster.

According to Bamigboye, "Oldman added Alfredson was very quiet with the camera, taking an almost voyeuristic approach by shooting with long lenses. ‘It was as if he was eavesdropping, like a peeping Tom, which is what you sort of want for a spy film.'" I like the sound of that! And you can kind of get a sense of that approach from the trailer.

Like Alec Guinness, who played the role before him in a terrific BBC miniseries adaptation in 1979, Oldman had lunch with Le Carré himself (whose real name is David Cornwell) and borrowed a few of his mannerisms. (If audiences pick up on these mannerisms, they may attribute them to Guinness rather than Cornwell.) He also "put on a bit of a tummy" to properly portray Smiley, a man who can out-think top-level Soviet strategists and bring down traitors in the government, but can't keep his diet or his wife. "I wanted to be suitably middle-aged, so I ate a lot of treacle sponge and custard on the set and built up a little bit of a middle-aged paunch. I called it eating for George."

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