From Empire Magazine article on The Night Manager
some excerpts re: Hiddleston and Laurie from the article (emphasis mine)
…Hugh Laurie is doing magic tricks for children. He plays Richard Roper, ‘The Worst Man In The World’, a billionaire chemical weapons dealer who sleeps like a baby despite dealing in death. His voice dripping honey, Laurie teases and delights them. Everyone, cast and crew, is suddenly mesmerised by the performance, caught by a python’s dance. Only Tom Hiddleston, as ex-soldier Jonathan Pine, who is now undercover in Roper’s organisation, is immune. He just watches. “There is something very active about the way Pine is passive,” the actor explains, cooly summarising the le Carre’ MO in the process.
…“Honestly, this has never felt like television,” marvels Hiddleston, surely a candidate for 007 if Craig calls time on his glowering. “It has felt like a six-hour film.”
…And what a cast. Sitting in the luxuriant sunshine, Hiddleston is so articulate, so tuned in to the minutiae of his character, so damnably English, he might as well have been made up by le Carre’.
…Hugh Laurie just happens to be a Le Carre’ nut too, long active in bringing The Night Manager to the screen. You could test him on the essentials of the universe, similar to how the crew of The Lord Of The Rings would test Christopher Lee’s (a spy-turned-actor) knowledge of Tolkien.
… The outsider’s perspective has become the ideal vantage point. They couldn’t be more thrilled to have not on a European, but a female director on The Night Manager. “You are dealing with people who don’t express what they feel,” says Garrett. “There is a lot of internal combustion going on. Susanne has teased and cajoled and coaxed the cast into delivering brilliant psychological performances.”
… The fickle nature of Englishness has been a line of enquiry throughout le Carre’s fiction, sourced to his bitterness at the great betrayal by Kim Philby and the Cambridge spies while he was still in the service. Tinker Tailor is a direct correlation of that treachery, and key to the dramatic texture of The Night Manager is the fact that Roper is English.
“What he is so good at is unpicking something very specific about Englishness,” notes Hiddleston. One of the reasons Pine is so driven in his pursuit of Roper is the fact that he is an Englishman willing to sell a private arsenal to an Egyptian crook. "You can feel le Carre’s anger that someone who has had the benefits of an English education is using that privilege to do the worst things imaginable.“
… Back in Mallorca, Hiddleston takes in a view of impossible wealth and tries to summarise why it is le Carre’s network of unordinary Joes refuses to go out of fashion. "This kind of material appeals to that desire to see behind the curtain,” he offers. “What deals are being made, who is in whose pocket. When you see that high finance is in bed with politics, which is in bed with the media, there are all these conflicts of loyalty…” It is an expanding universe that looks awfully like our own.