One of the things we enjoy about Benedict is that he’s capable of making perfect sense even when he’s rambling (and, let’s face it, the man does ramble sometimes).
Here’s a classic example from the UK premiere of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. From around 0:52, when he’s asked how intimidating it was to be among the stellar cast of the film:
"Not at all, because they’re very supportive. It’s a thrill, it’s a good fear to have, because you just up your game. And I think you’ll see hopefully when you watch it, that everyone’s playing at the top of their game to basically sit right within a film and in a world and in characters which are meat and drink to actors where they’re sort of … they’re fantastically rich canvases. So you’ve got the very subtle shifts of dissembling natures and mask-work going on, and subterfuge and who to know to trust, and how to play your hand in that game as well.”
From around 1:49, on why the audience was so involved and so excited about seeing a film that takes place in the middle of the Cold War:
"Well, many reasons. I mean, I think foremost is that (John) le Carré is … (gets distracted by crowd) … he’s extraordinary, he’s been part of the literary staple of classic spy novel-writing for most of our fathers’ generation before us’ lifetimes. It’s such a British thing, not just le Carré but obviously (Ian) Fleming and Bond.
I think the excitement also stems from the fact that there’s never been a day really when intelligence is out of the news. I mean often for bad reasons, often because they ‘re constantly being checked … there was a fantastic lecture this morning from Radio 4, the head of MI-5. It’s an incredibly complex, thrilling, but very hard world to tread a line in in this day and age…
I think what’s thrilling about this film and people who know the book that realise that it’s a story of people who work behind the scenes and very quiet victories that we’ll never know about. And that’s kind of what it honours — the loneliness, the hard work, and the character-driven workplace rather than the thrills and spills of the usual spy franchises which we’ve kind of been spoiled by … That so threw me, I completely forgot your question … I do apologise.”
And the clincher: the reporter asks whether, with so many foreign-policy crises going on, audiences are more willing to look at the film as they might not have a decade before. From 4:07:
"I think so … I mean this is obviously a film set in the `70s, in an era of Cold War espionage, and we’ve moved into a different generation now. Not just through time but through the level and the nature of the crises we now face. Our groups are far less well-defined in the sense that they’re splinter groups, they’re small pockets of angry, disenfranchised people who latch on, who are fomented in their disgruntledness by fundamentalists into becoming terrorists. Recruitment happens at a far more local level, it’s not about an Iron Curtain and what’s going on behind that, what’s coming across through East Germany and beyond that happened during the Cold War. It’s far more globalised. And I think that’s where the targets and the work has become fractured and incredibly hard for people to stay on top of. And I think our security forces are doing an exceptional job.”
Toward the end of the interview he apologises yet again and says he’s no expert on foreign policy issues. We say, while he may not be an expert, he knows enough to be able to speak intelligently on the subject.
And that, we think, is because he cares to know.
footage posted on youtube by romangirl88.