In TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, Gary Oldman (as George Smiley) sits his protégé Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) down, and, after a few stiff drinks, narrates his one encounter with his nemesis, the Russian spy Karla. In our video "Darkness Visible: Gary Oldman’s Karla Scene," Gary Oldman joins Benedict Cumberbatch, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Straughan and director Tomas Alfredson in a fascinating commentary about how the scene creatively came together.
Early on Alfredson decided not to use a flash back to capture this memory, thus allowing Oldman to demonstrate his acting talent by conjuring up a whole world just though his dramatic delivery.
Benedict Cumberbatch found him to be "so inclusive to other actors. There’s nothing precious about what Gary does. But we were doing this scene, where Smiley is recalling his encounter with Karla, and it became a very thin line for me not to fall over; Guillam is enthralled, and I was mesmerized! Gary was completely inhabiting Smiley. I felt I was the luckiest man; it was like a one-man show by Gary Oldman." Cumberbatch continues, "What was astonishing was, his holding the scene like he did."
Director Tomas Alfredson concurs, revealing, "Gary had to do it 20-30 times. It was such a hard moment for him –– the big trauma of Smiley’s professional life –– and Gary delivers it in a subtle, beautiful way."
The Karla Clip
George Smiley (Gary Oldman) recounts to Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) how he met his Russian nemesis Karla.
Darkness Visible: Gary Oldman's Karla Scene
Gary Oldman joins Benedict Cumberbatch, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Straughan and director Tomas Alfredson in a fascinating commentary about how the “Karla” scene creatively came together.