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People in Film | Colin Firth

Updated October 24, 2011

Whether as a spy, a single man, a king, or a romantic icon, Colin Firth has always been able to bring a clear, albeit complex, sense of humanity to his characters.

Colin Firth | A Natural Spy
Colin Firth | Growing Up as an Outsider
Colin Firth | Becoming an Actor
Colin Firth | More than Mr. Darcy
Colin Firth | Finding his Voice
Colin Firth | A Natural Spy

Colin Firth | A Natural Spy

In Tomas Alfredson’s TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, Colin Firth plays Bill Haydon, a dapper and amiable British intelligence chief who is at once an icon and an enigma. Firth describes how his character is “very much looked up to by some of the younger members of the organization, with hero worship. They’re subscribing to his self-image; dashing, with a kind of glamour and rather cavalier – for example, he’s the one who rides his bicycle into the office and through the typewriter pool.” Of course, there’s also lots of hero worship directed at Firth himself, having received the Best Actor Oscar for THE KING'S SPEECH the year before. And there was hero worship from him to the others involved in the film. As he told Den of Geek, “when I heard it was Tomas Alfredson, and then I heard it was, like, John Hurt, and Gary [Oldman], it was absolutely irresistible.” And while Firth is not really like his character, he has suggested in an video interview with The Guardian that actors have a “capacity for duplicity [that] would be quite useful in the job.” Indeed Firth, who has gone from being a psycho to a spy, a dashing Darcy to a stuttering George VI, has demonstrated beautifully his talent for creative duplicity. But even more his role in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY shows how comfortable and natural he is with the characters he embodies.  As The Playlist’s Oliver Lyttelton notes, Firth “has the most fun of anyone as the flamboyant, witty Haydon.”

 

 

 

People in Film | Gary Oldman

Updated October 24, 2011

From playing Sex Pistol Sid Vicious to master spy George Smiley, Gary Oldman has created characters so realistic that even if they are not based on real people, we believe they are.

Gary Oldman | Finding George Smiley
Gary Oldman | A Childhood of Ambitions
Gary Oldman | Bringing Real People to Life
Gary Oldman | Making Characters Real
Gary Oldman | Director of Real Life
Gary Oldman | Finding George Smiley

Gary Oldman | Finding George Smiley

In Tomas Alfredson’s TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, Gary Oldman plays George Smiley, the stoic spymaster who is tasked with finding a mole in the heart of British intelligence. It was a daunting challenge for the actor. Not only did he need to fill the well-worn shoes of novelist John le Carré’s most celebrated character, but he would have to contend with the shadow of Alec Guinness' magnificent portrayal of Smiley in the 1979 BBC mini-series of the novel. Oldman approached Smiley with the same precision he brings to every character he plays. First was the look, getting the slightly paunchy body of Smiley just right. He told The Guardian, “If you're carrying around a few extra pounds, we all feel it. But it also gives you a visual; it's something you can believe in when you look in the mirror, when you put those clothes on. It's the silhouette, which is as important as the emotional or the internal.” And he took time to find just the right glasses. But then there was the emotional journey to find Smiley. Oldman explained to Will Lawrence at The Telegraph, “He is an intelligence officer, a student of espionage. He has a strong moral sense, too, a strong moral compass, even though he recognises the dark, unethical, ugly side of what he does. Also, there’s a melancholy and sadness within George. It isn’t accidental that his name is Smiley.” His hard work paid off. His performance has critics suggesting that Oldman should now get his long-overdue Oscar for this performance. He’s also gotten praise from Smiley’s creator himself. Le Carré saw in Oldman both a continuity and a contrast to Guinness’ Smiley. As he told The Telegraph, Oldman evokes the same solitude, inwardness, pain and intelligence that his predecessor brought to the part - even the same elegance…But Oldman’s Smiley, from the moment he appears, is a man waiting patiently to explode.”

 

 

 

People in Film | Benedict Cumberbatch

Updated October 14, 2011

From school plays to playing Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch has combined a shrewd intelligence with a sense of wonder and enthusiasm. These two qualities come together perfectly in his performance in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.

Benedict Cumberbatch | The Inside Man
Benedict Cumberbatch | Early Stages
Benedict Cumberbatch | Small-Screen Sherlock
Benedict Cumberbatch | ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Benedict Cumberbatch | The Inside Man

Benedict Cumberbatch | The Inside Man

Distinctive both in name and appearance, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the pivotal role of Peter Guillam -- the accomplice of George Smiley (Gary Oldman) in his quest to discover the identity of a Russian double agent -- in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY. Being cast in this part was a dream come true for Cumberbatch for several reasons. First off, there’s the A-list cast, including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy and Ciarán Hinds. Cumberbatch quipped to The Guardian about the film’s talent roster, “That's a call sheet I'm going to frame and keep for ever.” Moreover, he rose to the dramatic challenge posed by playing Guilliam, a young impressionable British agent who is made to deceive the very institution to which he has sworn his allegiance. “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,” he told the website Flicks and Bits. Indeed, as he told the Daily Mail, “I've always wanted to play a spy, because it is the ultimate acting exercise. You are never what you seem.” The elegance of his performance, showcasing both a confident intelligence and a deep emotional confusion, is not lost on critics. Xan Brooks of The Guardian applauds him: “Benedict Cumberbatch is mesmerizing as the well-groomed gentleman conspirator coming slowly apart at the seams.”

 

 

 

People in Film | Tomas Alfredson

Updated October 14, 2011

From absurdist comedy to social commentary musicals, from teen horror to scintillating spy dramas, Tomas Alfredson is a director who truly defies limitations of genre.

Tomas Alfredson | Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy...Director
Tomas Alfredson | From a Filmmaking Family
Tomas Alfredson | TV, Film, & Stage
Tomas Alfredson | The Right Breakthrough
Tomas Alfredson | Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy...Director

Tomas Alfredson | Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy...Director

Director Tomas Alfredson on set

What initially drew Tomas Alfredson -- the soft-spoken, erudite Swedish director -- to TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY was the considerable challenge of bringing John Le Carré's intricate Cold War spy novel to the big screen. “It was the complexity of the source material that was intriguing to me,” he explained to The Telegraph. “It was like a huge crossword, and some crosswords want to be solved.” The book had previously been turned into a highly successful BBC TV mini-series starring Alec Guinness, however, the task of condensing it into a two-hour movie was almost unthinkably difficult. Recalling his early talks with producers on the project, the self-effacing Alfredson remembers to The Guardian, “We agreed that this was probably a totally impossible book to turn into a film. That it was almost blasphemous to introduce anyone other than Alec Guinness as George Smiley, and that it might as well be a confused Swedish non-horror director who would go out and explore this strange idea.” By all accounts, the gamble was a huge success. As Philip Kemp raves in Sight & Sound, “Alfredson’s direction, bringing to it something of the cool control and refusal to sensationalize that made his breakthrough movie LET THE RIGHT ONE IN so exceptional.”

 

 

 

People in Film | Tom Hardy

Updated October 14, 2011

From a tumultuous and wild youth, Tom Hardy has focused his considerable energy into turning in bravura performances, from BRONSON to TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.

Tom Hardy | A Hero Among his Heroes
Tom Hardy | Internal Demons
Tom Hardy | Changing Mind and Body
Tom Hardy |
Tom Hardy | A Hero Among his Heroes

Tom Hardy | A Hero Among his Heroes

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY

For fast-rising British actor Tom Hardy, the opportunity to appear in director Tomas Alfredson's TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY came out of the blue, when Michael Fassbender (who played Mr. Rochester in JANE EYRE) had to withdraw from the production at short notice. Hardy jumped at the chance to play the rogue agent Ricki Tarr in the big screen adaptation of John Le Carré's classic spy novel and join an illustrious cast lead by Hardy's great acting hero, Gary Oldman. “If it had been a shopping list I'd have been in there!” Hardy joked. “It just so happened to be an extraordinary piece of modern literature that's been turned into a fantastic script with a director who contains such a wealth of knowledge and understanding of his world and what he wants to create. ...The only trouble I had through any of it was sitting opposite Gary Oldman and trying to not watch him while I was trying to do my work because I was fascinated by him doing his.” But Hardy, at this point, can stand by his own performances. As Oliver Lyttelton, reviewing for indieWIRE’s The Playlist, notes of Hardy in TTSS, “We’re virtually past the point of having to say that Tom Hardy is brilliant in a film, but brilliant he is, and once more showing new strings to his bow; soft and vulnerable, deeply wounded by being shut out by his employers.”

 

 

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy London Premiere

Updated October 14, 2011

A red carpet slideshow of the London premiere of TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.

London Red-Carpet premiere of TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY at BFI Southbank
Gary Oldman and Alexandra Edenborough
Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch
Gary Oldman (aka George Smiley)
Director Tomas Alfredson
Writer John le Carré
Gary Oldman signing autographs
Colin Firth and his wife, Livia Giuggioli
Benedict Cumberbatch signing a poster
John Le Carré signing autographs
Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch
Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt
Screenwriter Peter Straughan, Producer Tim Bevan, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberland, Colin Firth, John le Carré, Gary Oldman, Director Tomas Alfredson, Producer Robyn Slovo
Colin Firth, Producer Robyn Slovo, John le Carré, Producer Tim Bevan, Screenwriter Peter Straughan, Director Tomas Alfredson
Colin Firth and Gary Oldman at the after party at the ‘Skylon’ on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall
Benedict Cumberland at after party at the ‘Skylon’ on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall
John Hurt and Gary Oldman at after party at the ‘Skylon’ on the first floor of the Royal Festival Hall
London Red-Carpet premiere of TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY at BFI Southbank

London Red-Carpet premiere of TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY at BFI Southbank

On September 13, the cast and crew of TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY gathered at BFI Southbank in London for the film's British premiere. When the film opened later that week, it proved to be a sensation, garnering rave reviews and staying at the top of UK’s box office for three straight weeks.