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Helmer Tomas Alfredson kicked off the Dec. 7 preem of Focus Features’ “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” at the Arclight by singing a Swedish version of “Happy Birthday” to producer Robyn Slovo. After receiving a warm round of applause, Alfredson told the crowd he hoped they’d understand his film, based on John le Carre’s dense espionage novel.

The afterparty at the Chateau Marmont found stars Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong mingling with well-wishers.

Alfredon mused about the pic’s protag, George Smiley, being “so complicated for an actor to do, because Smiley doesn’t speak for 16 or 17 minutes in the beginning, and in the end, he raises his voice slightly.”

On certain takes, Oldman’s Smiley was a bit too low-keyed. “Tomas would ask me to go a little bigger sometimes, because what I was doing was so small that it wasn’t registering,” recalled the thesp. “He’d ask me to glance over at Colin and I’d say, ‘I did,’ and he’d say, ‘Can you make it a little bit bigger because we didn’t quite see it.’ By the end, we communicated telepathically.” n