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'Tinker Tailor': Gary Oldman overcomes his panic [video]

December 12, 2011 |  4:41 pm

Tinker Tailor
It's the kind of part that is both exhilarating and terrifying: playing a role already canonized by a great actor, in this case Sir Alec Guinness.

In the month it took Gary Oldman to commit to playing George Smiley in the new movie adaptation of John le Carr√©'s "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," the veteran of "The Dark Knight" worried about how his performance would be compared to the acting of Guinness, who played the British spy in a 1979 BBC  miniseries. "He was my nemesis," Oldman says in this excerpt from The Envelope Screening Series. Eventually, Oldman overcame his fears, and turned in what has been hailed as one of the year's top performances.

Here's the actor explaining how he convinced himself to play Smiley:


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--John Horn

Photo: Gary Oldman as George Smiley in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." Credit: Jack English/Focus Features