Benedict Cumberbatch has received nominations at all of the major awards ceremonies for portraying Alan Turing – the British mathematician who helped end World War II by cracking the enigma code, but was eventually driven to suicide by the U.K.’s archaic laws against homosexuality and nearly scrubbed from history books – in The Imitation Game.

Benedict Cumberbatch On Gay Character In ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’

Four years before earning plaudits for playing Turing in The Imitation Game and achieving the mainstream success that’s earned him an Oscar nod and fans who go by “Cumberbitches,” Cumberbatch played another interesting gay character in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy alongside Gary Oldman. His character, Peter Guillam, is a spy who Smiley (Oldman) track down a mole in British Intelligence, whose dapper attire and flashy presentation masks a deeper truth. uInterview.com found this never-before-published video in its archive from its exclusive interview with Cumberbatch.

“Guillam on the front of it is very at ease with who he is. His visual look is very dandified. He’s got a great blonde bob and a fantastic Citroen DS car and these fantastic beautiful clothes, and it’s all going swimmingly, but that’s part of his personal armor that slowly, slowly gets stripped away,” Cumberbatch told uInterview back in 2011. “You learn that an awful lot of it is a front for him, and there’s a crisis both in his heart and his home life and it is mined by the time he has to go through what he has to do through for Smiley. That alters that perspective we see of him at the beginning of being a bit of this Bond-esque glamour boy in this otherwise very demure and brainy spy world.”

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In order to embody the character of Guillam, Cumberbatch relied heavily on John Le Carre‘s book of the same name, as well as the script adapted by Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan – but stayed away from drawing inspiration from Alec Guinness’ take on the character in the 1979 BBC miniseries.

“The book was hugely helpful, especially for backstory before we meet Guillam to know what his purpose had been and his relationship with Smiley. In the film, there is this extraordinary blind trust that he displays so that was important to understand,” Cumberbatch explained. “Our film is much more about the personalities and the closed world is all there and the spy thriller element is definitely in that, but I think it is as much a character study about male loneliness in a pretty devastating workplace as anything else. ”

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Q: Were you influenced by watching the 1979 version of ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’? -

I have a vague memory of it. But I think from repeats, obviously, because I was born three years before it was broadcast. I didn’t have it, either, as an obstruction or something to refer to. I went back to the book and obviously the script and John Le Carre himself for backstory and research. So, no, the figure of the brilliant Alec Guiness didn’t loom too large, that was not a problem for me.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for your character, Peter Guillam? -

The book was hugely helpful, especially for backstory before we meet Guillam to know what his purpose had been and his relationship with Smiley. In the film, there is this extraordinary blind trust that he displays so that was important to understand. Why that was there that trust and loyalty to Smiley? But no, mainly it was Le Carre, the book and this fantastic script, which, I guess is a different cut from the same animal. It’s a different sort of piece of the same body of work, but with a very, very, very different sort of outlook. Our film is much more about the personalities and the closed world is all there and the spy thriller element is definitely in that, but I think it is as much a character study about male loneliness in a pretty devastating workplace as anything else.

Q: How would you describe the gay undertones present in Guillam’s character? -

So, it is interesting. Guillam on the front of it is very at ease with who he is. His visual look is very dandified. He’s got a great blonde bob and a fantastic Citroen DS car and these fantastic beautiful clothes, and it’s all going swimmingly, but that’s part of his personal armor that slowly, slowly gets stripped away. You learn that an awful lot of it is a front for him, and there’s a crisis both in his heart and his home life and it is mined by the time he has to go through what he has to do through for Smiley. That alters that perspective we see of him at the beginning of being a bit of this Bond-esque glamour boy in this otherwise very demure and brainy spy world.