That’s twice now I’ve written “sequel” into a title, but I’m much more serious and much more excited about this possibility…
The good gentleman across the sea over at Empire were lucky enough to hold a web chat with the distinguished Gary Oldman. While filled with a lot of the usual questions (though Empire did a good mod job), there was one that outright asked about the possibility of Oldman’s Tinker, Tailor character George Smiley appearing in another film. Oldman wasn’t shy about his interest in doing so, and the conditions that would have to be met…
I would hope that Peter Straughan will write the screenplay and Tomas Alfredson would return as the director, but I would love to revise the role. I would think that they may put those two together. I don’t think they would make The Honourable Schoolboy on its own. My guess would be that it would be a composite, an amalgamation of the two, and they would call it Smiley’s People.
Of course, this isn’t particularly substantive since actors must always sound happy about the idea of doing a movie over again (especially when it’s doing well at the UK box office, as TTSS currently is). Fortunately we can pair this bit information from Oldman with a piece in the Guardian (spotted by the keen eyes at Collider) that outright states that StudioCanal sees George Smiley as the means to create their first franchise. Along with more comments from Oldman that pretty much follow the one above, the piece suggests they’ve got some sort of special announcement to make in the next few days. Since the box office numbers have been so good in the UK, it’s not a leap of logic to think they’ll be announcing a sequel.
So will George Smiley become the older, more weathered James Bond? StudioCanal surely sees the potential, and it’s not exactly unprecedented. The character is featured in more than half a dozen of John le Carré’s books, and has appeared in films before (in name and in spirit). Alec Guinness played the character to great success in the late 70s and early 80s, but for BBC television shows that didn’t exactly spark a motion picture franchise. Maybe it’s time we have a recurring spy franchise about an agent with some age on his face.
Most of us Yanks haven’t gotten to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but it’s clear this isn’t your routine pulp spy adaptation, but a true prestige picture crammed with brilliant performers. The universe where films like that can spark repeatedly sophisticated sequels alongside all the incessant superheroes sequels is one I’d love to live visit. Perhaps though, if we’re lucky, we’ll find out that that universe is in fact our own…