Gary Oldman Interview For ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ – Out December 9th In The US
John Le Carré’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 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 US December 9th.
Code naming the Secret Intelligence Service the Circus, it fits….
Gary Oldman: (Laughs) Yes, it’s not an accident that he calls it the Circus. I mean, there you are, you have the circus, then you have Smiley the Clown. You know, Smiley at the Circus. At the Circus you’ve got this whole jamboree of extraordinary characters. It’s a branch of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, but yes, a Circus (laughs).
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).
This is such an intricate and absorbing story, what do you think it is about John Le Carre?
Gary Oldman: I think like any good writer, there’s things that are there that he’s written that he doesn’t even know he’s written. He thinks he’s writing about one thing, but maybe it is about something else. He is on it, he is 80, and it’s like sitting down and having conversation with a 25 year old. He’s amazing. Just the title, he’s taken the name from the nursery rhyme, “Tinker, Tailor,: Soldier, Sailor,: Rich Man, Poor Man,: Beggar Man, Thief.” In this world that…..well exists, but specifically the world Le Carre has set up, everything has got a code name, something is jargon for something. There’s so many layers, there’s so much going on underneath, it’s fascinating, truly fascination….he’s fascinating.
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