WTF is FYC? Part 2: The Night Manager







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  Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine & Hugh Laurie as Richard Roper

Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine & Hugh Laurie as Richard Roper

Pete Hammond , Moderator, introduces the panel for tonight's FYC event for  The Night Manager.

Pete Hammond, Moderator, introduces the panel for tonight's FYC event for The Night Manager.


At most FYC events, we're treated to an episode or a mash-up of the show before getting to know the cast and creators during a moderated panel, which is then typically followed by a meet and greet reception. FYCs, I can call them that now, are never the same, but I've joined a circle of die-hard attendees for the purposes of this post series! 

After introducing myself, I offer this purpose to those seated beside me or behind me for their consideration ... (if I've been unable to secure a less-conspicuous aisle or elevated corner seat) ... would shooting photos and taking notes on my phone during the panel portion be distracting to them? So far, so good! Many colleagues who know me also know I've embarked on this effort, so their understanding and assistance is very helpful, particularly during the receptions.

That said, I settle in for The Night Manager, Hour 1.


The Night Manager transports and carries me abroad. It's as if I know these people. How is this even realistic? We're talking about high stakes crime in real world scenarios where deceit and manipulating civil unrest translate into billions. I've never been close to this world, yet I witness and embody every seductive part of it. Clearly, I'm in a fugue state, because although it might get me laid, witnessing something in this story might get me killed. 

The truth is that I'm having a rekindled love affair with everything from across the pond. Perhaps It's because English shows that have made their way into our pipelines ... shows such as, Downtown Abbey (my post on their FYC is here), Luther, Orphan Black, London Spy, Sherlock, and the hybrid, Catastrophe are well, really bloody good! 

Something about the dramatic give and take, the light and the dark of them, triggers dreamily stitched sense memories into a patchwork world that feels known and akin to what I deem "English." Of course, I'm supported by memories of a few passion-filled years performing on the West End and living in London ... a handsome English boyfriend ... uh-oh ... I've mentioned him again? ... all reviving connection to my people. I'm convinced English actors and English "creatives" are my people

Nevertheless, I'm in the dream soup of it.

Room service on cue: a screener of the 6-hour series is literally at my door when I get home. Thank you, my people!

A collage of images from The Night Manager's FYC event, featuring Susanne Bier, Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, and Elizabeth Debicki.

More women directors seem to be working in television this year ... and let's all give a nod to the gender shift. Ooo! A great title for a show about women directors in Hollywood! I'd better get busy ...

By design, this is a spy story. And our lead character beckons us to learn his secrets. Tonight, Danish Academy Award winning director, Susanne Bier, (In a Better World, 2010), shares her secret: she loves how extreme close ups take us into the emotional world of the story's characters. Surely, there's more to it than that?

It might have something to do with this guy:

Tom Hiddleston is The Night Manager.  How may I be of service?  ... Uh, need you ask?

Tom Hiddleston is The Night Manager. How may I be of service? ... Uh, need you ask?


Tall, very tall, English actor, Tom Hiddleston, is superb as Jonathan Pine, the night manager who's pulled into the intrigue of the British Secret Service in this juicy adaptation of John le Carré's novel of the same name. Uh, did you know he's on some kind of Who's the Next 007 Bond list? 

At least that what's been reported. I know, I know. I've been advocating Aidan Turner, the talented Irish actor from the Poldark series, but after watching a few episodes of The Night Manager, I'm convinced Hiddleston, though very different, is also a palpable choice. Listening to the man speak, I coo and melt from his delivery ... theatrically trained expression wrapping the most deliciously positioned nouns and verbs as they rest temptingly inside satin-smooth sentences. 

Hello, Front Desk? Hold all calls. There will be no need for turn down service this evening. 

Hiddleston has stolen my fugue-state heart. Please Do Not Disturb.

And if this is not enough ... he's Hank Williams! What? 

And to seal it ... check out his live, yes live performance as Hank ...


Hugh Laurie, another fine, and tall English actor, plays Richard Roper, the charming, but corrupt arms dealer at the center of it all. Having seen him in two panels this FYC season, I find it interesting how intently he surveys the inner architecture of the room from his perch on the other side of the proscenium when he thinks no one is watching. He's paying attention though, listening and ready to respond when called upon. With a reputation of quick-witted humorous replies, he does not disappoint us tonight. Apparently, he'd wanted to play Jonathan Pine with an attempt at optioning the novel in 1993, incredulously dismissing the idea now with a reference to his bald spot along with that classic "yeah, right" face he makes when he knows we're watching.

Olivia Colman, a respected and popular English actress, (she was cheered by our audience), deftly takes on Angela Burr, in a role originally scripted for a man. Colman initially feared telling the director at their first meeting she was pregnant, worrying it might mean too many changes to a character who had already gone through a gender transformation. Instead, Bier used her condition to add dimension to the character, rather than make attempts to shoot around it. 

Tall and stately Aussie, Elizabeth Debicki, plays Jed Marshall, Roper's overly demonstrative wife with secrets of her own, and Tom Hollander's Lance Corkoran as Roper's right hand, notices everything - a trait his character does not hide  - calling Pine out on his every move.

Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager, is away from his desk.

Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager, is away from his desk.


The Night Manager is a classy thriller with a perfect mix of romance and exotic locations ... yes, they actually shot at these places.  

Indulge in some links to transport yourself:

Mallorca (Majorca) 
Balearic Islands (Spain)
Marrakech (Morocco - Pine's Nefertiti Hotel)
Turkey (small crew for establishing shots only)
Zermatt (Switzerland - Pine's Hotel Meisters) 
Kanton Wallis (Switzerland)
Egypt (small crew for establishing shot only)
London (home of my people)
Sa Fortaleza en Pollensa (Spain - Roper's mansion)
Blackpool Mill Cottage @ Hartland Abbey Estate & Hartland
Devon (England)

So the book ends and the series has ended, but I'd like to see Pine continue! Might it be possible? Hello, is anyone listening over at The Ink Factory?


Simon and Stephen Cornwell are producers there. They are also John Le Carré's sons and this is their company's first television project. They are known for the feature, A Most Wanted Man, also adapted from their father's novel ... with yet another on the way, Our Kind of Traitor with Ewan McGregor and Damian Lewis. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, a feature directed by Ang Lee is also forthcoming, so these guys are busy. The quality of Le Carré's storytelling is evident in his other produced works ... Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener, and The Spy Who Came in from The Cold.

With such a prolific father figure, the brothers seem to have successfully made their marks and a case for audience demand of more cinematic television, beginning with The Night Manager. Again, thank you, my people.


I'm convinced that an unseasoned English person managing the fray of a post panel fan circus with its insatiable grub-grab and lack of cueing aesthetic, would easily justify employing a team of handlers. So it's no surprise that even in this professional environment, seasoned actors, English or not, often appear with a posse to control the crowd. 

The Egyptian Theatre offers a large enough courtyard, but the directive of drinking and feasting seems do away with the draw of that luxurious feature. Instead, peeps are packed at the bar and swarming on servers with food trays.

I see Hiddleston over there by the foyer. Oh good, he's managed to get some champagne. I make my way over,  but it becomes clear that he will not navigate the throng beyond a lucky few shouldering the inner ring as he's listening so intently to each person, oblivious to everything else beyond that immediate focus. I am very attracted to this quality in an actor and a person. Yet, since I'm in the 4th ring, I opt to observe rather than push and claw my way in. Another time. You still carry my heart.

The older phone I had at the time did not help when trying to preserve this 4th level moment. Apologies all around for fuzzy, sucky, photos on this and some of my posts. To offer further explanation and support to conspiracy, my phone and desktop cease to be functional ... at the same time. Yes, information is lost ... sorry Jane the Virgin, I can't find my notes on your FYC! But this is the digital age and that's how it goes, right?

So back to Hiddleston ... he's there, and then, he's there no longer. Sigh. I scan the crowd. I see no other panel members, so perhaps he was the only brave and curious soul to venture into the ruckus. And we are grateful for that effort.

Besides adding to the value of an FYC, by now, you may agree with me on how special it is to meet and talk to your people

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