John Le’s classic tale of treachery and espionage, directed by Tomas Alfredson, features a stellar cast including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Kathy Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Simon McBurney, David Dencik, Roger Lloyd Pack, Stephen Graham, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Konstantin Khabensky and Mark Strong. The must-see big-screen version of John Le Carré’s best-selling Cold War novel, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,’ set in the 1970s, finds George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a recently retired MI6 agent, doing his best to adjust to a life outside the secret service. However, when a disgraced agent reappears with information concerning a mole at the heart of the Circus, Smiley is drawn back into the murky field of espionage. Tasked with investigating which of his trusted former colleagues has chosen to betray him and their country, Smiley narrows his search to four suspects – all experienced, urbane, successful agents – but past histories, rivalries and friendships make it far from easy to pinpoint the man who is eating away at the heart of the British establishment. ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ opens in the UK September 16th and in the US on December 9th.

Apart from maybe Commissioner Gordon, much of the characters you’ve played have been hyperactive and quite outrageous, how was it to play someone who doesn’t so much express themselves verbally, more so through their gestures and facial expressions?

Gary Oldman: Yes, I’ve played characters in the past who’ve been quite frenetic, and express themselves emotionally in a very physical way. So this was a wonderful opportunity to play something very different from that. You are at the mercy, to some extent as an actor, you are at the mercy of the industry and the imagination of the people who cast you. I thought Christopher Nolan had great imagination casting me as Commissioner Gordon (laughs). That gave me an opportunity to do something I don’t think people had seen from me before, then the same goes with the opportunity Tomas Alfredson gave me for ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.’ Lucky for me he cast me in this part.

We have the benefit, with roles like this, with this fabulous source material with the book. It gives you all the subtext, it’s like your roadmap of the world. I didn’t really work much outside of the book and the script. So all that subtext, the emotion, all those thoughts and feelings that are going on underneath, they were all there in that great book.

The cast for this film is amazing, how was that to play off these other actors?

Gary Oldman: It was a wonderful opportunity to come back to England and work with Tomas Alfredson, and especially this cast. I think it’s safe to say that we’re all fans of each others work. I remember the morning when we were all sitting around that table, I was in awe of the other actors – in particularly John Hurt, who I had admired for years and had wanted to work with. I remember my first day, I was quite nervous to meet John (laughs).

Benedict Cumberbatch: I was a novice at the high-table of talent in this film (laughs). I’ve been watching them all through my lifetime, I could probably say I was even more nervous than Gary – when I met John Hurt, Mark Strong, Gary, Toby Jones, Ciaran Hinds, Kathy Burk, Stephen Graham, Colin Firth, I could go on and on, the list is amazing. I was hugely flattered to be asked to be apart of the film. It’s the kind of role, in the kind of film, that you crave to have as an actor because it involves subtle shifts, it’s not about everything being on enormous display, whereas I suppose the pyrotechnics of ‘Sherlock,’ fun that they are, there’s a lot less subtlety to it.

There’s so much subtext with the characters, how difficult was that to bring to life? Your character sacrifices a lot with his job.

Benedict Cumberbatch: I think in many ways the film is an essay on being male in a work place, in a very extraordinary work place at that. I think it’s about male loneliness in that world. It’s quite loveless, the sacrifice means you’re alone, you’re alienated, all your left with is the trust of your colleagues, and whatever morality is driving your work in that landscape. Specifically for this film, it’s beautifully drawn out by the script, an adaptation of a masterpiece all the subtext, the back-story. Also with conversations with Tomas, I tried to carve out some kind of a back history for my character, to understand why there was that loyalty in place to Smiley, for my character to make those sacrifices. I think what’s brought out in the film beautifully – in every characters arc and journey through the story – is that sacrifice, that level of personal sacrifice. I have it on very good authority that we touched nerves that are quite true to the lives that are involved in that world.