Peter Straughan has said that the project of adapting the Cold War thriller by iconic author John le Carré began “in a state of fear.” Le Carré is a revered writer who has elevated the spy genre into literature, and his fans are legion. In fact, the work that Straughan and his screenwriter wife, the late Bridget O’Connor, were asked to tackle had already been made into a successful 1979 BBC miniseries, which was hailed as a masterpiece.
The very idea of meeting Le Carré – let alone transferring his less than heroic hero, George Smiley, and his menacingly beige world to the screen – was intimidating. But Straughan found the author to be everything an adaptor could hope for – generous, supportive, inventive, and far less precious about fidelity to the novel than the screenwriters expected.
Straughan, who has written screenplays for “The Debt” and “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” among others, describes the process of adapting stories to film as “a kind of foster parenting.” He joins Larry to talk about the year-long process of writing the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”
Peter Straughan, screenwriter for the movie “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”