Benedict Cumberbatch, appreciated here most effusively for his role in the BBC’s new Sherlock (season 2 currently in production, to air in the UK in August), will also appear this year as Peter Guillam in the film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, based on John Le Carré ’s espionage novel of the same name. In the novel, Guillam is head of the Scalphunters, a segment of MI6—nicknamed “The Circus” by LeCarre, who knew whereof he spoke—that handles the dirtiest deeds.
(Great article with more about this entry in the Smiley series by Richard Raynor in the LATimes.)
Currently scheduled for November release, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy will star Gary Oldman as world-weary, retired spy George Smiley, who must find a Soviet mole hidden among the ranks of The Circus during the peak of the Cold War. The rest of the cast includes such worthies as Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong. However, in another Sherlock tie-in, actor Jared Harris reportedly had to be replaced from the cast, because filming conflicted with fulfulling his role as Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the next cinematic installment in the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law interpretation of the Great Detective’s adventures, due out by the holidays.
In addition to detective tales and spy stories, Cumberbatch is also working on Peter Jackson’s prequel to the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, where he will play the Necromancer, and—it has just been announced by Deadline—give voice to Smaug the dragon. This is the villain of that piece, who must be defeated by hobbit Bilbo Baggins. And that leading role is being played by Martin Freeman, who is also the latest television incarnation of Dr. Watson! From Sherlock’s sidekick to Smaug’s slayer…
It would take a Gandalf to keep it all straight.