Jonathan Pine, played by the devilishly handsome Tom Hiddleston, is a former British soldier who, after failing to find the relaxed lifestyle he so craves, gets swept up in a socio-economic war in the new AMC miniseries The Night Manager. The show, which is based off the novel of the same name written by British author John le Carré, was adapted by Danish director Susanne Bier and had its US premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last Thursday.
Although the book takes place around the geo-politics in a post-cold war world, the series has adapted to a more modern time–both in subject and in characters. With the transition of the plot to be centered around an arms dealer in Egypt and a critical male character being cast and rewritten as female, the story feels fresh and contemporary.
So what attracted Hiddleston, who grew to worldwide fame with his portrayal of Loki in the Marvel franchised Avengers series, to this six episode project? For one, his role as Executive Producer, a new responsibility to add to his impressive CV. “I really enjoyed the experience. It really committed my engagement with the material in a very serious way,” he explained to me as we chatted on the red carpet. “I loved the extra responsibility for the story and the script.”
But, what about this specific role and story was so intriguing that he had to be part of it? “There is an interesting complexity at the heart of le Carré’s writing which is an investigation into the cultural identity of Englishness,” he explained as we fell into a deep critical analysis over our mutual love of British literature. I’m an English major–sorry. “I think that le Carré is furious with a man like Richard Roper because he has been born with many blessings. He’s been given the most beautiful life and the inheritor of incredible privilege; education, clean water, democracy, and he’s used those privileges to do the worst things imaginable.”
“I think that le Carré feels that that’s a betrayal of an Englishman’s sense of duty,” he said. He continued boxing out his publicist, who was clearly weary of time restraints, to continue our conversation. “It’s actually very old school and there is a point of honor, which is a very unfashionable word these days. But, what Roper does is dishonorable and that’s why Pine, my character, has to take him down.”
The first episode of The Night Manager premieres Tuesday 4/19 on AMC.
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Why You Must Watch ‘The Night Manager’ This Spring: Photographs courtesy of AMC and Getty Image