A Bit Of Tinkering

The 1979 six-part series that was John Irvin‘s Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy ran 290 minutes, or roughly 48 minutes per episode. Tomas Alfredson (Let The Right One In) has directed a much shorter feature film version. An undated draft of Peter Morgan‘s script, which was rewritten by Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, runs 111 pages. That’s a lot of cutting.

Alfredson’s feature, which finished shooting last December, will be distributed by Universal Pictures sometime in the fourth quarter. I’ll bet the execs who pushed along Fast Five and The Immortals are looking at this film with their heads cocked sideways and going “what the…?”

Everyone knows that Gary Oldman plays George Smiley in Alfredson’s film, and that he won’t be as good as Alec Guiness no matter what he does. Colin Firth is playing Bill Haydon. I’m not spilling anything, but Haydon meets an entirely different fate in the film that he did in the series and in John LeCarre‘s original 1974 book.

After a delay of several eons, Acorn Media finally released a DVD box set of Irvin’s six-part series in June 2004.

16 thoughts on “A Bit Of Tinkering

  1. That is such an outstanding series, as was Smiley’s People. Very stimulating in that it made you pay attention to catch all the dropped clues and subtleties in order to know what was going on. And the suspense built over the six episodes in a great way. My favorites.

  2. I think it might help if you showed an extract from the correct script. This is an extract from Peter Morgan’s script, NOT ONE WORD of which was filmed. Tinker Tailor was not ‘rewritten’ from Morgan’s draft, but a completely new script was written by O’Connor and Straughan.

    Always useful to comment on solid information rather then some old crap you came across, don’t you think?

  3. Wells to Razorshade: I was only struck by the length of the script (111 pages) compared to the lenght of the six-part miniseries. How do you know for a fact that NOT ONE WORD was used from Morgan’s script? Morgan is a name and a hot-shot and the film’s exec producer — I don’t believe that each and every word in his script was junked. Maybe some of it and maybe most of it, but NOT ONE WORD?…bullshit. Do you have the O’Connor-Straughan version? Be a pal and send it along.

  4. Razorshade to Wells: It’s a script for a feature film, what were you expecting, 600 pages? I’ve read both Peter Morgan’s draft and Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan’s and I guarantee you not a word was reused, they started again from scratch, and the film will be all the better for it. After all, they adapted from a brilliant Le Carre novel.

    And by the way, sometimes executive producer credits get given to deal with circumstances exactly like this. Don’t let that put you off believing Morgan’s script wasn’t used. It is true.

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