From the Daily Telegraph this morning:
“I approached the prospect of a feature film of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with the same misgivings that would have afflicted anyone else who had loved the television series of 32 years ago,” the author said.
“George Smiley was Alec Guinness, Alec was George, period. How could another actor equal let alone surpass him?
“My anxieties were misplaced. And if people write to me and say, ‘How could you let this happen to poor old Alec Guinness?’, I shall reply that, if ‘poor Alec’ had witnessed Oldman’s performance, he would have been the first to give it a standing ovation.”
Le Carré said that Oldman “pays full honour to the genius of Guinness”. He added: “He evokes the same solitude, inwardness, pain and intelligence that his predecessor brought to the part - even the same elegance.
“But Oldman’s Smiley, from the moment he appears, is a man waiting patiently to explode.
“If I were to meet the Smiley of Alec Guinness on a dark night, my instinct would be to go to his protection. If I met Oldman’s I think I just might make a run for it.You might say "well, he would say that", but Le Carre would be perfectly capable of condemning a film of his own novel if he did not like it.
I watched the Alec Guinness television adaptation from 1979 earlier this summer.