OLIVIA’S PREGNANT PAUSE
OLIVIA Colman knows how to spring a surprise. The award- winning actor, best known as DS Ellie Miller in Broadchurch, had been given the role of MI6 intelligence officer Angela Burr in The Night Manager when she discovered she was pregnant.
Colman had to spill the beans to director Susanne Bier before filming began on the TV version of the John Le Carre bestseller.
Bier had already made the decision to make Burr a woman ( the character is a man in the book). Now she had to rewrite the script to accommodate Colman’s pregnancy.
Burr recruits former British soldier Jonathan Pine ( Tom Hiddleston) to infi ltrate the inner circle of international businessman Richard Onslow Roper ( Hugh Laurie) who is involved in the illegal arms trade.
“I’m very grateful,” Colman says. “The fact that I was pregnant added to the feel that Burr and Roper are absolute opposites in their morals, their beliefs, and what drives them.
“Burr is like Ellie in Broadchurch; They both have a very keen sense of what is right and wrong. They are disgusted by people who are dishonest. I think if they were to sit down together they would really get on.
“Burr knows Roper is an arms dealer of the filthiest kind and that he’s making a fortune out of death, misery and poverty. She is determined to take this monster down so she sets out to seduce Pine … knowing he’ll be able to infi ltrate Roper’s inner circle.”
Laurie, best known as Dr Gregory House in the long running House medical drama, is an executive producer on The Night Manager.
“I remember on the train going up to Zermatt, he was doing an awful lot of work on the script, and I thought, ‘ That’s very keen for an actor!’” Colman says. “I just thought that was how he works.
“It wasn’t until afterwards that I found out that he was so passionate about getting this story on the screen and that he’d optioned it years before.”
THE NIGHT MANAGER
BBC FIRST, SUNDAY, 8.30PM