Posted on Monday, September 26th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
We’ve been very excited to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the new film from Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson that stars Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong, Svetlana Khodchenko, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Stephen Graham and Kathy Burke.. The film is essentially both a remake of a BBC mini-series that starred Alec Guinness and an adaptation of the novel of the same name by John Le Carré.
The author wrote two more books that round out what is called ‘the Karla Trilogy:’ The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People. The George Smiley character, played in this version by Gary Oldman, also shows up in other Le Carré novels. And now there is the intimation that the positive response to Tinker could lead to at least one more film adapting the follow-up novels.
The Guardian (via The Playlist) suggests that financiers at StudioCanal want to turn Tinker into the opening salvo in a George Smiley franchise, with a possible announcement coming out this week about that very plan.
It might not be as easy as just putting everyone back in period costumes. Gary Oldman told the Guardian “I loved playing George, and there are of course films to be made of Le Carré’s other books featuring George, with Smiley’s People and The Honourable Schoolboy being the obvious ones. But I would insist on quite a few factors, such as I would really want Tomas Alfredson to direct it again.”
That’s a good impulse on Oldman’s part, but whether that can be made to happen is something else altogether.
There’s also the complication that The Honourable Schoolboy only tangentially features Smiley; the real lead character is in that is Jerry Westerby, the character played by Stephen Graham in Tinker. Would he be given his own film? Seems unlikely. Perhaps more likely is some condensed story that includes elements of both books that remain in the Karla Trilogy. But two films does not a franchise make. There are other options: rewrite The Honourable Schoolboy as something that features a more prominent role for Smiley, for example, or work his appearances in other books into one story.
Still, as potential franchise announcements go, this might be one to get more interested in than most. If StudioCanal does announce a plan to make more films, we’ll report on it. Meanwhile, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is already open in the UK, and hits the US on December 9.