As the first television adaptation of a John le Carré novel in over two decades, The Night Manager brings forth a complex story of modern criminality, weaving together through that love, loss and revenge.
"I play Jonathan Pine," says Tom Hiddleston, "who, at the beginning of the story, is a lost soul.
"He is the night manager of a five star hotel in the ski resort of Zermatt in the Swiss Alps, living an almost monastic life, literally and figuratively buried in snow, silence and darkness.
"I think he is a mystery to all men and to himself - the uniform and the face he prepares to meet others is a mask that protects him from having to know who he is. Behind an immaculate three-piece suit, immaculate tie, polished black shoes and impeccable manners, he almost has no character because he is filled with guilt and shame because of what has happened in his past."
Hiddleston continues: "He is a former soldier who has served two tours in Iraq, so though he has disbanded from the military, he is still a serviceman - he is just serving in the hotel now as opposed to the army."
Sent the first episode of the show by his London agent, the actor says he was "completely hooked" by both the story and the character from the very start.
"I hadn't read the novel before, but as soon as I'd read the script, I sought the novel out," he explained.
"I think John Le Carré occupies a unique position in British literature and storytelling. I think he has a singular authority on the subject matter having been in the circus himself, as they say.
"He is a deeply gifted narrative storyteller and a master of his art, the espionage thriller. I think the reason any actor would be drawn to an adaptation of his material is the characters, which are incredible complex, incredibly rich and as surprising and contradictory as real people are."
Chatting a little about the plot of the show, he adds: "I think Jonathan is looking for a reason to live. Of course, he is physically alive and he has a job, but is hidden away on a mountain in Switzerland and working nights in a hotel. I don't think it is a vocation, I think it's a comfort because the discipline and the patience and the manner required is something that is familiar to him from the army."
The Night Manager consists of six episodes and kicks off Sunday, February 21 at 9pm on BBC One.
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