In the spy thriller “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” Actor Gary Oldman is reinventing the iconic character of George Smiley of John Le Carré’s classic spy novel. Smiley, the spymaster charged with snuffing out moles at the highest levels of the British Secret Intelligence Service during the Cold War was practically immortalized by actor Alec Guinness in the 1979 BBC television series.
Because Mr. Guinness’ performance was so memorable Mr. Oldman talks about how he managed to make the character his own: “The shadow of Guinness is so large, so the ghost of him sort of looms there. In the end, I played a trick with my head and I just thought, there’s more than one Hamlet and more than one Romeo.”
Mr. Oldman, 53 years old, said he was a fan of the “Tinker” TV series and watchedthe TV series in the 1970s, but didn’t rewatch it prior to filming. He did refer to Mr. Le Carré’s novel. “I think that the clues to how to play George are there in the book,” Mr. Oldman said. “It became the Holy Grail.” Mr. Oldman also met with Mr. Le Carré, who spent five years in the British Foreign Service, and says he picked up some of the author’s mannerisms and applied them to Smiley.