Beyond one local magazine cover profile, Tom Hiddleston hasn’t done much to promote The Night Manager’s premiere this month on the BBC. Hopefully, he’ll be around to promote the thing in April, when it airs in America on AMC. Don’t you think Kong: Skull Island will be done by then? I hope so. So, with Hiddles in the wind, the promotional duties have fallen on Hugh Laurie. And he’s doing a brilliant job! He spoke to a British outlet this week about how he originally wanted to play Tom’s role – Jonathan Pine, the lead – when he first read John Le Carre’s book years ago. So now that Laurie is older, he’s playing Richard Roper, the “bad guy,” not the hero. And watching a whippersnapper like Hiddles play Pine is “f—king galling” according to Laurie.
Richard Onslow Roper, we are told early into this classy BBC John Le Carre adaptation, is the ”worst man in the world.” He is an arms dealer, a posh, plausible and fabulously smooth scion of the English upper classes whose cut glass accent belies a ruthlessness which is felt from the minute we first see him in a video espousing platitudes about some charitable cause he is fronting.
The Etonian actor wanted to play the part of the heroic Jonathan Pine when he first fell in love with the book back in the early 1990s. But it has taken a while to get this drama on TV (film producers tried and tried but the story was just too complicated to get into 90 minutes, I am told).
And in the intervening years Laurie has matured into a seasoned star. The man who found global fame as the grouchy lead of hit drama House is now more than capable of playing the super sharp villain. Jonathan Pine, the eponymous night manager and decent cove, is played by Tom Hiddleston.
Or as Laurie put it at the press launch: “Twenty five years ago I dreamed of optioning the book in the role of producer which it turns out I am absolutely pathetic at. But back then I rather arrogantly dreamed of playing the character Jonathan Pine and now I have to sit back and watch Tom Hiddleston being really virile and charming and it’s really f***ing galling to watch.”
Tom Hiddleston. Virile. Charming. Sure. Just FYI though… a lot of women like craggy old bastards, and I’m one of them, which is why I have a great deal of affection for Hugh Laurie. And I think Hugh could easily give Hiddles a run for his money in sexiness. Hiddles is more “cute” you know? Anyway, I don’t think Hugh taking over the Roper role is any big knock – it really does look like the juicy, scene-chewing role. Here’s the trailer for The Night Manager:
Photos courtesy of the BBC & WENN.