When “The Night Manager” star Tom Hiddleston showed up in Zelmatt, Switzerland, for the first day of filming AMC’s miniseries adaptation of John le Carré’s novel, he had a suggestion for director Susanne Bier: The script was missing a line from the book that sums up the narrative perfectly.
“[Olivia Colman‘s character] asks [my character, Jonathan] Pine, ‘Why did you do it? Why does a respected hotelier snitch on his guests?’” Hiddleston said in a recent interview with TheWrap.
“And I remember I had the novel with me. … It’s a direct quote from the novel: ‘If there’s a man selling a private arsenal to an Egyptian crook and he’s English and you’re English, you just do it.’”
“That line seemed to me to sum up the theme of the novel, which is John le Carré’s anger that a man who is in receipt of all the privileges of British citizenship — education, wealth and democracy — is using those privileges to do the worst things imaginable,” he explained.
The target of that ire is Hugh Laurie‘s character, Richard Onslow Roper, an arms dealer whose organization Hiddleston’s character must infiltrate on behalf of Colman’s intelligence agency. Hiddleston described Laurie’s role on the series as “the most charming man in the world playing the worst man in the world.”
“Pine’s anger is le Carre’s anger that an Englishman is doing this terrible thing that is creating destruction and poverty and death on a global scale,” he said. “To me, that really summed up ‘The Night Manager.’”
Watch the interview above.