Cornwell, executive producer with Stephen Garrett, joined Garrett and series stars Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie on today’s Contenders panel. “My father is thrilled with the results,” said Cornwell. “It’s a bold adaptation, it’s updated, one male character is now a woman—Angela Burr (portrayed by Olivia Colman) is now a woman, the character used to be Leonard Burr.”
Cornwell added that the updated version is different from the original but maintains the “spirit” of the story.
After running in the UK, the series premieres on AMC on April 19— also launching AMC’s new Tuesday night schedule. And despite speculation, the producers hinted after the panel that a second installment is unlikely. (There is no source material by Le Carré for a sequel.)
Cornwell revealed the Colman was pregnant when she did the role. “That was something that we all embraced immediately,” Cornwell said. He described the character as the “moral heart” of the story and “a moral heart with an unborn child in her stomach was really quite special.”
Meanwhile, actor Laurie cracked wise by talking about his own immoral character, Richard Onslow Roper, described as “the worst man in the world.” Laurie joked that long ago he envisioned himself as Hiddleston’s character, Jonathan Pine, when he read the novel back in the early 1990s. But “you know, the world turns and hair falls out and knees give way and I have to stand by and watch this virile stud” assume the coveted role, Laurie deadpanned.
Not that Laurie is complaining too much. “Ask my wife… I’ve had many decades of rehearsing evil”, he joked. “If you are as evil as I naturally am, it’s not too much of a stretch.”