Tomas Alfredson

Director Tomas Alfredson first caught Hollywood’s attention due to the worldwide success of his Swedish language horror film Let The Right One In. And he inched even closer to global notoriety by making Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with the UK based company Studio Canal and a bevy of Britain’s top acting talent. One would think that whatever the director is doing next would be a much-hyped affair, but mum has been the word up until this point as to what Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor follow-up is going to be. Some news out of Sweden might soon put an end to everyone’s speculations, however. Apparently Alfredson has acquired the rights to Astrid Lindgren’s novel “The Brothers Lionheart,” with the intentions of turning it into a feature film. Lindgren, who many people know as the author of the Pippi Longstocking books, first published “The Brothers Lionheart” back in 1973. It’s a fantastical tale about a couple of brothers named Jonatan and Karl who end up having adventures in a adventure-ridden afterlife realm called Nangiyala. Despite the fact that it deals with death and illness and is generally pitch black material as far as a children’s story goes, “The Brothers Lionheart” has been successful all over the world, and has even already spawned a 1977 Swedish film that was directed by Olle Helbom.

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With my review and claim that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a near-masterpiece, I don’t believe it’s possible to get more hyperbolic about this film. Perhaps my fourth viewing, which will inevitably take place soon, could make that happen. Why such grand enthusiasm for a slow-burn “thriller” that’s splitting plenty of folks? Well, go see for yourself. Thankfully for you lot, director Tomas Alfredson‘s film is expanding into 800 theaters today. To further urge you wise readers to go see the film, Focus Features was kind enough to give us these exclusive behind-the-scenes shots of Alfredson shooting the breeze and working with Gary Oldman and John Hurt on set. They’re black and white, meaning they’re all prestigious and such.

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As I wrote in both my review and interview with Gary Oldman and Tomas Alfredson, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is not one’s average spy thriller. The espionage lifestyle we see here is cold, lonely, and harsh. Perhaps the character who represents that the finest is Jim Prideaux, played by Mark Strong. Prideaux, like every other character in the film, descends to worse and worse places, emotionally and mentally, as things progress. The character’s as lonely as can be, and Strong conveys that with every somber and sad look on his face. It’s an interesting contrast to another one of Strong’s performances from this year as Clive in The Guard. A lot of actors discuss how they love variety and go for it — and most genuinely mean it — but Strong seems to be one of the prime examples of someone doing it right. A sympathetic villain, an alien superhero, and an isolated spy make up an eclectic bunch of characters. Here’s what Mark Strong had to say about the catharsis of press, the divisiveness of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and the comfortable amount of takes:

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Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

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Tomas Alfredson hasn’t made your typical spy thriller. Not only is that due to the lack of explosions, a fast pace, shootouts, or any other convention the genre tends to call for, but because Alfredson hasn’t really made a “thriller.” Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, in actuality, is a dark ensemble love story about lonely spies. The best character who represents everything the film says is Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong). At first, Jim, a towering field operative, is played with a quiet intensity. He’s calculating and observant like the rest of his spy brethren, but once stripped down of his serious spy mode and once revealed at his most vulnerable, Jim’s an emotionally and psychologically tortured guy. The world of espionage is a vicious place, so says the film. At one point, for great reasons I won’t spoil, Jim ends up going from pivotal spy missions to teaching school children in an instant. For one, how emasculating and damaging that must be. The character goes from a life of importance and violence, and then goes off to teach children. The system chewed him up and spat him out like he was nothing.

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Tomas Alfredson‘s directorial follow-up to the beloved Let the Right One In is, on the outside, appears to be a drastically different film. Taken at face value, Let the Right One In is about a boy following in love with a vampire and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is about the search for a high-powered government mole. Digging deeper, both films are startlingly, but beautifully similar. They’re stories about repressed loners, even down to the smallest of characters and the most intimate of moments. At the center of the lonely bunch is George Smiley, played by Gary Oldman, in an all internal and “it’s-in-the-eyes” performance. Very few spies are as emasculated, cold, and unsuave as Smiley & Co. Unlike the Bonds and Bournes of the spy world, by the end of this film, no one will wish they were these characters of the Circus. A few weeks ago I had a chance to sit down with both Alfredson and Oldman for a quick interview where we discussed the paranoia-causing structure of the film, the gray enigma of George Smiley, and how much politer British spies are.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hunkers down and braces for award season. He also prepares for an onslaught of celebrity guest stars in New Year’s Eve, which features a poster that looks like a “Friends available to chat” sidebar on Facebook. In order to watch all the movies for the week, Kevin hires the only babysitter available… Jonah Hill. What could possibly go wrong with that? Fortunately this frees him up to see some of the smaller releases, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, W.E. and I Melt with You. And he wraps up the week wondering why everyone needs to talk about him.

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Sherlock Season 2 Preview

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that had one hell of an extended weekend this week. For starters, its author had a birthday. He’s old. Moving on. And then it had a “reaction” to “ice cream cake” that is too embarrassing to describe in detail. It’s also now very well acquainted with Rooney Mara’s body. All of it. But that’s another story for another time. Lets get back to doing what this column does best: things that are almost news. We begin tonight with a first look at Lara Pulver as Irene Adler in Sherlock, the second series of which will hit BBC screens early next year. The much-anticipated second frame of the Steven Moffat produced series will build on the events of the last series, including showing us what the hell happened in the pool house! 

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy hasn’t been seen by very many people here in my home of the U.S. of A, but it premiered at the Venice Film Festival to a whole lot of acclaim, and it’s already been released in the UK where it has been dominating the box office, so it’s probably time for the rest of the world to start getting geared up for its roll out to other countries over the next couple of months. If you haven’t seen the trailer for the movie yet, it’s a Cold War-Era espionage story based off of a book by John le Carré starring Gary Oldman as a spy named George Smiley. The film is directed by Tomas Alfedson (Let the Right One In), and it’s got a supporting cast that boasts names like Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Benedict Cumberbatch, among others. Given all of that pedigree put together in one place, I’m kind of feeling like I don’t even need to see the movie to already be excited for a sequel. And according to a story in The Guardian, one might soon be on its way.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy comes to us thanks to Tomas Alfredson, who is best known to horror freaks as the director of the original Let the Right One In, which is nervy and terrifying and better than just about any other vampire film made, oh, well, pretty much ever. Now it looks as if Alfredson is trying to do for the spy genre what he did for the vampire genre – basically, make it exciting and interesting again. The loverly Rob Hunter showed us the first trailer for the film back in June, and I proceeded to slobber all over it like I’d never seen a piece of movie marketing before. The film features an all-star cast packed with badasses, including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, John Hurt, and Stephen Graham. It’s essentially as if every single actor you’ve ever wanted to see in a spy flick got together and made that spy flick, but made it much more clever than you would have been able to craft on your own.

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While the question of whether Let Me In is going to live up to Let the Right One In, the more important question is when we’ll get to see Tomas Alfredson’s new project – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The easy answer is: next year. The right answer is: not soon enough. Now, the inspired cast of Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy is being added onto by Mark Strong (who will also be appearing as Sinestro in next year’s Green Lantern). It’s also been confirmed that the story will stay firmly in the Cold War era, as novelist John Le Carre intended it. Has there ever been a more highly-anticipated film with so many commas in the title? [The Playlist]

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alfredson-tinker

The director of ‘Let The Right One In’ has already shown his skill at handling children, but will he have the same touch with cantankerous old men?

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The 2008 Honor Roll

Forget the Best and the Worst of 2008. These are the actors, directors and producers that made the biggest impact on the world of film and how they might impact us in 2009.

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Giveaway: Let the Right One In

We’re doing everything we can to get the word out on this little flick — which includes giving you a little taste of the action with our awesome Let the Right One In giveaway.

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Let the Right One In Director Tomas Alfredson

We sat down (over the phone) with Tomas Alfredson, the director of the vampire coming-of-age film that’s getting incredible buzz and a limited release on October 24th.

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Let the Right One In

The official domestic trailer for Tomas Alfredson’s critically acclaimed child-vamp thriller Let the Right One In is here, as are some dates for when you can see the flick.

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2008 Tribeca Film Festival

Tomas Alfredson has adapted John Ajivde Lindquivst’s novel “Let the Right One In” and made a vampire film that transcends the genre.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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