John le Carré's favourite adaptations of his books
John le Carré's tense, twisted spy novels have made for excellent television and film since he began his bestselling publishing career more than 50 years ago.
He shared this list with CBC Books in 2017, when he was interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel for Writers & Company.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979 miniseries)
Based on le Carré's novel of the same name, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a seven-episode miniseries aired and produced by BBC in 1979. Alec Guinness as George Smiley is one of le Carré's favourite portrayals of the master spy — and many of the author's fans would agree. Guinness won a BAFTA TV Award and Broadcasting Press Guild Award for his performance.
The Night Manager (2016 miniseries)
This 2016 miniseries adaptation of le Carré's 1993 book garnered three Golden Globe Awards for stars Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. Le Carré said, "I loved Hugh Laurie's performance particularly — Tom Hiddleston's performance, Tom Hollander's performance and the beautiful Elizabeth Debicki too. I thought that was a beautiful production."
The Constant Gardener (2006 film)
Published in 2001, this le Carré novel became a widely acclaimed film under the direction of Fernando Meirelles. Rachel Weisz took home the Oscar for best performance by an actress in a supporting role. Le Carré said, "I have a great affection for The Constant Gardener because it was actually a film and a book which I can truly say did good. It held the pharmaceutical industry to account, and it told a narrative that woke people up to the use of human guinea pigs in clinical trials and that kind of thing."
Le Carré's 1963 bestseller The Spy Came in from the Cold became a film in 1965 starring Richard Burton as Alec Leamas. The movie was nominated for two Oscars and won four BAFTAs. Le Carré said, "I was so close to it and it was such a huge thing in my life. I still can't quite come to terms with it. I think Burton's performance was magnificent. I think the direction was wonderful. Claire Bloom, absolutely super. Oskar Werner, again, magic. "