It has been two years since Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson’s acclaimed adaptation of John le Carre’s legendary slow burn, Cold War espionage tale “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”.
In that time there’s been a lot of talk of crafting a sequel based on “Smiley’s People,” but not much progress seems to have been made. Now, Alfredson tells The Playlist that the follow-up is still in the works, he’s just taking his time because he wants the cast to deliberately age a bit.
“The whole group that was involved in ‘Tinker Tailor’ said, ‘We want to do the next story in that trilogy.’ But I don’t think I, or anyone else, should do a sequel directly. I believe in … [he casts around for the translation of a Swedish word which is something similar to allowing a field to go fallow during crop rotation]. And Smiley has to get older, too.”
Shot on a modest $21 million, ‘Tinker’ ended up grossing nearly four times that worldwide. The sheer density and complexity of both the original le Carre work and the film adaptation itself, along with its slow burn pace, means it has taken a while for the film to find its footing in certain territories – especially those where le Carre’s work never caught on and were thus coming into the film adaptation blind.
Alfredson is aware of this, comparing the difference of the film’s reception in the United Kingdom and United States:
“The complexity of the book was kaleidoscopic to get your head around it. Many people complained about that being too complicated and hard; they haven’t read the book then!
To try to unfold it for the film, that was driving us crazy, how to reduce it to 120 minutes. In the U.K., the story is something everyone knows about it. it’s part of their history so [complexity] was never something people complained about there.
I usually get quite interested if someone says, ‘This is complicated.’ But especially in the American culture, complication is something people are afraid of and think is something threatening. I think it’s a good thing.”