Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sequel?

The film adaptation of John Le Carre’s classic Cold War spy novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” is already a success story.

The reviews out of the festivals have been raves, more regular critics have been giving it 4 & 5 star reviews, and the box-office is promising after a strong No. 1 opening in the UK the other week. I myself saw a sneak preview of it tonight and am certain it’ll be on my ‘best of the year’ list, it’s a superbly executed and quite loyal adaptation.

Now, The Guardian reports that the film’s producer and financier Studio Canal is keen on making this their first franchise and are expected to make an announcement next week in Paris about development of a sequel.

Le Carre wrote eight books with the George Smiley character, played by Gary Oldman in the new film, including the likes of “Call for the Dead,” “A Murder of Quality”, “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” and “The Looking Glass War”.

‘Tinker’ however made Smiley a household name in the UK, and is also the first of what’s dubbed ‘The Karla Trilogy’. Smiley plays only a small role in the next book, the mostly South East-Asian set “The Honourable Schoolboy”, which focuses on the Jerry Westerby minor character from ‘Tinker’ (played by Stephen Graham).

A likely scenario is that the filmmakers will do what the BBC did thirty years ago after the success of the ‘Tinker’ mini-series with Alec Guinness – they’ll jump directly to adapting the third novel “Smiley’s People”, but may incorporate a couple of the key scenes from ‘Schoolboy’ which deals with the fallout of events in ‘Tinker’.

In ‘People’, Smiley is called out from retirement for the last time to investigate the death of one of his old agents, a former Soviet General and the titular head of an Estonian emigre organizations based in London.

Smiley learns the General had discovered information which leads to a final confrontation with Smiley’s nemesis, the Soviet spy-master Karla. Patrick Stewart played Karla in cameos in both mini-series. In the new ‘Tinker’ film he’s referenced numerous times and is briefly seen but only from a distance with his face obscured.

Oldman says “I loved playing George, and there are of course films to be made of Le Carre’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.”

Oldman also admitted last week to Empire that a film sequel would likely be an amalgamation of ‘Schoolboy’ and ‘People’ using the latter title.