As part of celebrating ten years since the launch of TAKE ONE, which coincides with one of the first films we covered, Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, getting a new 4K home release, we have reached back into the archives for an interview with the film’s team conducted at the 2011 Cambridge Film Festival and our second ever print issue.
Article from the print edition of TAKE ONE published on September 17th, 2011 – ‘Interview: Jim Ross speaks to the stars of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy‘
Despite the 1970s backdrop, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is not a film aiming for nostalgia, which is “a hard thing to try and create” according to director Tomas Alfredson. A slow-burning thriller set during the Cold War, and based on the classic Le Carré novel, it is a film which demands you take the same approach as Oldman’s aging spy George Smiley. Sit up, pay attention and keep a keen eye as he attempts to root out a Moscow mole at the top of the British Intelligence ‘Circus’.
‘Gary Oldman slips seamlessly into the role of Smiley – conveying a man with hidden depths and emotional turmoil. You always have the feeling he knows something you don’t.”‘
Gary Oldman slips seamlessly into the role of Smiley – conveying a man with hidden depths and emotional turmoil. You always have the feeling he knows something you don’t. Oldman feels audiences are ready for a return to this more cerebral take on the espionage thriller. “Movies are too loud,” he says, shaking his head, “One of the joys of reading this script was it wasn’t guns and car chases. It’s a quiet thriller”. Although the plot drives the narrative, the characters inhabiting Le Carré’s mistrusting and paranoid world grip the screen. “The Cold War is a construct on which you hang all these human frailties and strengths,” says John Hurt, “It’s about friendship and betrayal. It’s a very emotional film”.
The film is a departure from what recent audiences have come to expect of bombastic post-Bourne spy movies, Oldman’s calmly methodical Smiley and his cohorts being the antithesis of this approach. Underpinning and enabling the fantastic ensemble is the excellent work of Tomas Alfredson, in the director’s chair, who “allows things to happen”. Hurt’s admiration for Alfredson’s approach is clear. “It was allowed to breathe … but in the wrong hands it could be slow, and it’s all to do with who is dealing with the subject matter”.
“The Cold War is a construct on which you hang all these human frailties and strengths,” – John Hurt
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is exactly the thriller cinema audiences could now be craving, and it is sure to make its mark when it hits screens beyond Cambridge. “The Bourne movies and Bond are like a spotlight shining on you,” says Oldman, raising his hands and violently leaning back in his chair, “and TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is like watching a lava lamp. It has a whole pace I think people are ready for”.