In John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, George Smiley is an Oxford-educated man who was formally employed at “The Circus,” a fictionary British intelligence agency, and his primary job was in the recruitment of new agents–he knew everybody. Smiley was “let go” of his job and not on his on volition. There is a ‘mole’ in the community, and the hunt is on to find out exactly who that person is—this is where George Smiley’s tale begins–he is brought back to find the “mole.”
“the time comes for Smiley to stop idling, puttering and ghost-walking through an enforced retirement and go back to work to investigate an increasingly troublesome mole. It is, in fact, Smiley’s enforced time away from the Circus that has made him the most trustworthy agent to find out the leak” – Jeff Simon
What does “George Smiley” and Gary Oldman have in common? Director Tomas Alfredson (Let The Right One In, 2008). In Alfredson’s latest film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Oldman is the reticent intelligence agent George Smiley–and at first, had misgivings about playing the famous character. Maybe Oldman was a bit careful on what or who his next role choice would be. Perhaps to avoid portraying an overly bogus and contrived character (i.e. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg in 1997’s The Fifth Element); or maybe, he wanted to avoid becoming another serially type-cast character (i.e. Sirius Black from the Harry Potter film series). I’d like to think that Oldman was waiting for the right role, the right script, and the good director who can harness his genius acting potential, as a leading man. Yes, he has come a long way since his portrayal of English musician “Sid Vicious” in the 1986 film Sid and Nancy.
Below is a video interview with ArcLight Presents‘ Jonathan Josell, who asks the actor what he thinks of being cast as “George Smiley” in Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011).
Video source used with expressed permission: ArcLight Cinema