Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander join Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager

Rev co-stars Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander are to reunite in BBC1 and AMC’s adaptation of John le Carré novel The Night Manager. The pair will join confirmed cast members Hugh Laurie (House) and Tom Hiddleston (The Hollow Crown) in the drama, with Elizabeth Bedicki (The Great Gatsby) also on board.

The Night Manager – first confirmed in January – is a contemporary interpretation of le Carré’s espionage drama and is the first TV adaptation of one of his books for more than 20 years.

Following British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston), the miniseries charts his recruitment by an intelligence operative named Burr (Colman) to navigate the shadowy corners of Whitehall and Washington where “an unholy alliance operates between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade.”

Pine’s mission: to infiltrate the inner circle of lethal arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie) which includes his girlfriend Jed (Debicki) and an associate named Corcoran (Hollander).

The adaptation – due in 2016 – comes over two decades after The Night Manager was first published, becoming one of the author’s best-known novels.

Produced by The Ink Factory (the team behind A Most Wanted Man), the co-production between BBC1 and AMC (the US network who brought you Breaking Bad and Mad Men), will be directed by Oscar-winner Susanne Bier and begin filming this spring.

Source: radiotimes.com – Its a Rev reunion! Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander join Tom Hiddleston in the Night Manager

Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander on Rev

“It was important to us that the priest is not represented as a complete idiot in the show,” says Tom Hollander. He’s sitting in the over-salubriously wallpapered surroundings of a Soho private members club alongside co-star and on-screen wife Olivia Colman. But they’re here to talk about Rev, the thoughtful, slightly careworn sitcom that’s returning for a welcome third series. “In previous incarnations,” he continues, “whether it was Derek Nimmo or Rowan Atkinson or Father Ted, the priest or vicar is a bit of a twat. Adam Smallbone is the hero, with a very small ‘h’, of Rev. It’s the people around him who are the oddballs.”

The Reverend Adam Smallbone is fundamentally decent, but with none of the otherworldly airs of the stereotyped cleric. He’s not The Vicar Of Dibley, nestled in her cosy, reassuring, rural sitcomland. “It’s not Downton Abbey, it’s not a Sunday night, fear of Monday morning show,” says Hollander. Nor is it the cosy, bucolic England easily exportable to an American audience who, Hollander believes, would be put off by the programme’s “defeated sensibility” (although an American version of Rev is, apparently, at the development stage). As the downbeat opening credits suggest, this is England as a grey and unpleasant land of roundabouts, roadworks, blowing litter and blank indifference. “It does tell you about the day-to-day work of a vicar,” adds Colman, with the conclusion being: “It’s fucking hard.”

Smallbone is working on the frontline, at east London’s St Saviour’s In The Marshes. He is faced with economic woe on his doorstep, as personified by Colin, the derelict washed up from Moss Side, as well as near-empty pews and dwindling funds. He’s beset on all sides: by his own church, pressuring him to embrace some new half-baked initiative, by parents only attending services to get their kids into good schools, by jeering workmen and narky schoolkids. At the same time, Smallbone has to endure his own constant crises of faith in a God who offers no divine assistance whatsoever.

Wearied by his lot, and the Job-like tribulations and humiliations he must endure, he’s a man of small vices – a smoker and boozer who often wakes up to Nurofen breakfasts surrounded by the bottles and cans of the night before. He lusts pathetically after the local headmistress, is a disappointment in many ways to wife Alex, is given to jealousies, rivalries and even the odd “bromance” fixation. He’s got a potty mouth when persistently provoked, as those jeering workmen and schoolkids soon discover. But he’s not a whisky priest; and, for all the comedy at his expense, is not a fatuous figure of fun. He wavers all over the place, but ultimately is unshakeable in his sense of vocation, with each show enjoying what Hollander calls “moments of grace”.

There’s a lengthy list in Rev’s credits of ecclesiastical consultants, including the Rev Richard Coles, Radio 4 presenter and formerly of pop group the Communards. Hollander himself is involved in the research, in which he learned of the present-day church’s increasing role in making up for the shortfall in state provision for the poorest. “The most moving scene I saw was a church in Somers Town in London, near King’s Cross, which has been a poor place historically and continues to be. It was full of people who were sleeping [there] – asylum seekers and local people. We represented it in the background in the Christmas special but it wasn’t the centre of the story, it was context. But certainly, I’ve been taught through the research about what the work of the church actually is.”

The show works, however, not because it’s didactic but for its comedy and casting. Hollander talks of a “Dad’s Army” vibe, “an array of distinctive characters”. These include the suavely callous Archdeacon Robert, prone to dropping off Adam in the middle of nowhere on their pained taxi rides together, over-tactile parishioner Adoha, the combative Colin, as well as the stuffily ambitious, potentially treacherous lay reader Nigel (Miles Jupp). Then there is Adam’s wife Alex, a barrister who only reluctantly agrees to a life in a very unsecluded inner-city vicarage in which, as Colman says, “someone’s going to knock on your door at any fucking time of day or night”. Certainly, she demonstrates no particular religious instincts. “She’s atheist… isn’t she?” says Colman, looking to Hollander for guidance. “It’s never really been touched upon.”

Hollander: “Well, she’s agnostic, for sure – but she does pray…”

Colman herself is central to the appeal of Rev. Increasingly renowned for deceptive craft as an actor, she is darkly nuanced as Hannah in Tyrannosaur, a victim of domestic abuse with a very different sort of attachment to the Christian faith than Alex. She was superb as Sophie in Peep Show – the role in which she first came to prominence – who starts off as a Mark’s object of romantic longing, a distant English rose, but slowly degenerates into a frankly horrible, emotional mess of a character as the series progresses. She brings great emotional heft to the role of Sue in an episode of Jimmy McGovern’s Accused, a distraught anti-gun protester. Yet she can also turn in comedic performances, such as Green Wing, as if she were born to play nothing but fun parts.

Hollander’s pedigree is equally formidable. He plays villains, such as the devious and treacherous Lord Cutler Beckett in Pirates Of The Caribbean, trading as if on a small man’s complex with an overcompensating intensity and determination to do down his fellow man. At the same time, he is at home playing characters utterly out of their depth, such as the hapless, error-prone and easily manipulated Simon Foster MP in In The Loop. It is Rev, however, the series he co-created with writer James Wood, that seems most central and engrossing to him, closest to his soul.

That might be because, alongside the religion, there’s a more secular moral to Rev, too: the deep need for community and social interdependency, under siege in our stressed and straitened times. As a vicar, Adam has no choice but to face up to this reality every day. The church justly takes a bad rap nowadays, for instances of institutional bigotry, hypocrisy and cover-ups of child abuse. However, Adam Smallbone represents a facet of the church that’s just as real – a moral example of social responsibility, of “just doing good”, as Colman puts it.

Despite excellent reviews and a solid, highly loyal BBC2 audience, Rev feels like it can sink still deeper into the bosom of the nation’s affections. First broadcast in 2010, it was commissioned with remarkable swiftness, given the legendary snail’s pace of the comedy process. A second series followed but there’s been a lengthy delay prior to this third series. James Wood had given the impression in interviews that this was due to actors such as Colman and Hollander being too busy to commit to making new episodes, but both vehemently deny this. “That’s not true at all,” says Hollander. “James wanted a break and we all wanted a bit of time off. But also the delay was because a lot of research goes into preparing these series.”

Season three, in which Peep Show co-creator Sam Bain is also involved, adds the Smallbones’ baby, which duly brings with it a fresh hell of over-attentive parishioners, no sleep and marital sexual frustration. Plus, there are two new female administrative characters – an area dean, played by Joanna Scanlan, and a diocesan secretary (Vicki Pepperdine) – both of whom will add further to Adam’s daily stresses. He must also come to terms with Imam-envy and the gay marriage question in a series which, Hollander says, will see Adam – who is already “in constant negotiation with his faith” – tested to breaking point.

But then, that’s Adam’s inescapable quandary and his redemption: his calling, his bloody calling. “A lot of the comedy comes out of him doing the right thing in the name of this God who may or may not be there, in spite of all the appalling behaviour around him,” says Hollander. “The fact that he’s sticking by God and the church is an endless source of humiliation to him. And he’s in that predicament because of this vocation.”

All of which is why even an atheist/agnostic like his wife sticks with him and why even the atheist/agnostic viewer is minded to sympathise with, even root for Adam. Imagine having all those modern doubts, frustrations, anger about God but having to wear a smock and believe in the old bastard, too.

Despite its cautionary tone, it seems Rev has proven an attraction to aspiring young clergy. “Apparently, there are expanding numbers of people signing up for ordination,” says Hollander. “I’ve no idea if that’s to do with Rev, no one’s researched that, but at [Anglican theological college] Westcott House in Cambridge they do have the ordinants watch Rev to show them what it’s going to be like.”

“And they don’t all drop out?” asks Colman.

“No, they think, ‘Christ, I might get to marry Olivia Colman.'”

Rev starts on BBC2 on 24 Mar

Source: theguardian.com – Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander on Rev

New interview with Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman

oco The BAFTA award-winning comedy about a vicar living in a deprived inner-city borough returns for a second series. TV Choice speaks to Tom Hollander, who plays the Rev Adam Smallbone, and Olivia Colman, who plays his wife Alex

At then end of the last series Adam’s faith was looking wobbly. How is he now?
Tom Hollander: In the first episode Adam is at a religious retreat, a place of contemplation, getting back in touch with the reasons he became a vicar. It goes well and quickly he’s back in the world of his parish, but it’s not long before he’s under pressure again when he becomes a have-a-go hero entirely by accident, and then gets nominated for a special award he knows he really ought to turn down.

The real-life clergy seem to love your warts-and-all image of a city vicar. Did you expect such a warm reception from the Church?
Tom Hollander: People in the clergy are not used to seeing themselves portrayed as essentially the good guys, which is really what Adam is. We feel we have accidentally made large shoes with this show, but all we set out to do was make a TV series. We were thrilled and surprised that it was so successful.
Olivia Colman: We talk about the BAFTA every day!

Do the clergy recognise the smarmy Arch Deacon Robert as being a realistic character?
Tom Hollander: He’s the one people have said is an exaggeration. But other people have said, ‘Did you base him on my arch-deacon?’

Would you make a good vicar?
Tom Hollander: I don’t think so. But I thought about it when I was a choirboy at prep school. When I was about nine years old, I once read the lesson. I thought I was quite good at public speaking. I waited for every single last person to kneel before I started and enunciated very clearly. Someone said, ‘ I think he might be a bishop,’ which sounded good to me. Probably everyone else thought I was an idiot!

You film in a real church. Is that strange?
Tom Hollander: After a while we forget ourselves. Once, two of the crew started an impromptu game of cricket while we we waiting for a scene to be set up. Olivia got properly upset.
Olivia Colman: It felt wrong! There was too much ‘Owzat!’ going on.
Tom Hollander: And one of them was the son of a clergyman.

Why does Adam persevere with trying to revive this massive but empty church?
Tom Hollander: We are all used to thinking of our country as a strange rackety compromised version of how it used to be — staggering into a future that is uncertain, full of glorious memories of the past that nothing in the present can quite match up. Yet loving it all the same.
The Church of England is a good index of all that, with all its beautiful buildings that can’t be maintained, but yet you want them to be. You can see the past in the church as well, which is a reason I like it that Adam is trying to keep the temple there.

The church where we film — St. Leonard’s in Shoreditch, east London — is full of plaques to people in the history of London. Richard Burbage, the famous actor, is buried there, and James Parkinson, the man who discovered Parkinson’s Disease. The font was built to commemorate people who died in the Battle of the Somme, carved out of a single piece of marble that was polished in Cable Street.

So the past is there and whoever the vicar is, in any historical church anywhere in the country, is presiding over this continuity. These buildings represent so much.

Are there new faces to look out for in the show?
Tom Hollander: Sylvia Syms comes in as an old lady.
Olivia Colman: And Alex’s dad arrives. But we can’t tell you who plays him because it would spoil the surprise.And Olivia’s dad. He is a raving atheist and thinks religion is all nonsense. He’s also quite right wing and he thinks the way Adam wants to help people is all a bit distasteful. He’s grumpy, cutting and awkward to have in the house.
Tom Hollander: He thinks Adam isn’t good enough. They don’t have long theological discussions. It’s too tense for that.

Why does the relationship between Alex and Adam work?
Olivia Colman: Their relationship works because there is a deep-seated admiration for each other and they genuinely love each other, so whatever gets thrown at them they have to remember that. They always seem to remember that why they are together. And they make each other laugh.

What are you up to next?
Olivia Colman: I’ve got a few things coming up over the next few months.
Tom Hollander: I’ve no plans at present — unlike Olivia, who is going to be everywhere over the next few months. Not only is she in a new movie, Tyrannosaur, she’s playing Carol Thatcher in Iron Lady in January, and in the film Hyde Park On Hudson with Bill Murray playing Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. She’s the real star!

Sue Malins

Source: tvchoicemagazine.co.uk – Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman Rev

New interview: Return of Rev

oco Last summer, a matter of weeks after the first series of Rev came off the air, its co-creators, the actor Tom Hollander and the writer James Wood, were invited to do a Q&A session at Greenbelt, Britain’s largest Christian festival. Safe in the knowledge that a second series had been commissioned, they took a camera and Olivia Colman (who plays Alex, the long-suffering wife of Hollander’s Reverend Adam Smallbone) with them, just in case they might be able to film some footage that they could use at a later date. But within minutes of their arrival it became quite clear that this would be impossible. ‘Tom might as well have been Mick Jagger,’ Colman laughs. ‘He was mobbed.’

A stealth success, Rev generated an average of two million viewers a week and quickly became BBC Two’s highest-rating new comedy. An intelligent British sitcom in the manner of Peep Show and The Thick Of It, it follows the life of the Rev Smallbone, a hapless figure with a good heart, as he takes on the challenges of an inner-city east London ministry at St Saviour in the Marshes and all the grim realities that come with it.

Directed by Peter Cattaneo (of Full Monty fame), this was entirely different to any twee, bucolic picture of a Christian calling that might have been painted in the past. Gritty and urban, with a sophisticated vein of dry humour running through it, Rev’s greatest achievement was to give a real, human face to a modern man of the cloth. Critical praise for its gently comic tackling of pertinent issues – from the middle-class stampede for church school places (‘On your knees, avoid the fees’) to the terrifying lack of ecclesial funds – was unanimous. Even Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, publicly declared it ‘really rather good’.

Within weeks of the first series ending, Rev, which went on to win the 2011 Bafta for Best Sitcom, had been recommissioned. Less than a year later, the case is assembled on the pews of St Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch, London, trying to stifle giggles as Cattaneo reworks a Christmas table scene into a pastiche of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

This is the culmination of the Christmas special, which Wood has co-written with Sam Bain, one of the award-winning writers of Peep Show. Even Geoffrey Palmer, the veteran of British comedy, is here, in all his grizzled glory, for a one-off appearance as Hollander’s father-in-law. The other faces are reassuringly familiar from series one: Miles Jupp (who plays the perniciously ambitious lay reader, Nigel), Simon McBurney (the smoothly sinister social-climbing archdeacon – ‘Can’t stop. Off to Chris Hitchens’s book launch’), Steve Evets (Colin, the hard-drinking lovable lost soul), Ellen Thomas (cassock-chasing church matriarch Adoah).

Source: telegraph.co.uk – Holy spirit the return of Rev