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Modest budget brings challenges to ‘Tailor’

Eye on the Oscars: Best Picture - 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'

PRODUCER:
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robyn Slovo

ORIGINS:
“I had always wanted to make a movie about the Cold War, and I had always been a big fan of (John) le Carre — and that sort of spy with crumpled trousers and an old jacket, as opposed to James Bond,” says Working Title’s Bevan. “Peter Morgan had suggested ‘Tinker Tailor’ and le Carre said yes, as long as we make it in a way that was different from what had been done before.”

FUNDING:
“We have a deal with Universal, but they elected not to do this,” Bevan says. “Over the years, we had a relationship with Studiocanal, and they put up most of it. It was a relatively modest budget, around $20 million.”

HIGH HURDLES:
Making the film on such a budget had its challenges, says producer Slovo, but they were able to make it work with the help of a vast military barracks. “If anything, the hurdles were in post-production,” adds Bevan. “There’s one vision of ‘Tinker Tailor’ that’s a simple whodunit, but it’s also a very elliptical tale, and it was about finding that correct medium.”

DOMINO EFFECT:
“Who to cast as the iconic George Smiley?” asks Slovo. “As soon as (casting director) Jina Jay had suggested Gary Oldman, we all knew he was the one. Early on, (director) Tomas (Alfredson) met with Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy and Mark Strong. We had built an ‘intelligence service’ of actors well before we started prep.”

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