Tom Hiddleston Impresses Even 'The Night Manager' Director Susanne Bier With His Powerful Performance
Signing on to direct the AMC six-part miniseries, The Night Manager, based on the John le Carré novel of the same name, was a no-brainer for Danish director Susanne Bier once she saw who would be playing the psychological spy thriller's two protagonists, Richard Roper and Jonathan Pine. Roper, played by Dr. House himself, Hugh Laurie, is described as "the worst man in the world," but also the most charismatic. It's Tom Hiddleston's soldier turned hotel night manager turned British spy who has been enlisted to take Roper down and hopefully not lose himself in the process. Bier told Bustle she was excited to see Hiddleston, best known as Loki in The Avengers, take on a different kind of role. "I had seen [him] in a whole lot of different things, but always thought that he is someone who needs to do that one part where you really get to see who he really is," the Danish director says. "Who he really can be."
Bier, who has never done television before now, but has directed 15 films, including the 2011 Best Foreign Language Oscar winner In A Better World and the 2014 Jennifer Lawrence film, Serena, told The Guardian recently that she is always “wary of fantastic-looking actors" — a category she thinks Hiddleston falls into. "Of course, good looks are a great advantage," Bier tells Bustle. "But at times, I feel as if, you know, it stops there and that’s not interesting at all for me. It’s sort of, yes there’s beauty, but there needs to be a whole lot of other stuff going on. And I enjoy the beauty, but I’m not really necessarily, especially intrigued by that. I have to be curious by something else."
Watching Hiddleston become the poker-faced spy in The Night Manager, Bier says he moved beyond just being a good-looking actor to being an intriguing one who could carry the series. "I think yes, he’s incredibly handsome. He’s incredibly beautiful, but he’s also like a real spy," she says. "He’s got so many secrets. And yes, it’s very interesting to look into his eyes. They’re beautiful, but he’s never going to deliver the full truth."
In Bier's opinion, Hiddleston only gives "60 percent or 70 percent" of the truth, which, in the end, will leave viewers with a lot of questions about Jonathan Pine. "And it’s not out of ill will," Bier says. "It’s just, that’s his character. And that is like a spy and that is what impressed me."
After the premiere of The Night Manager this past February in the United Kingdom, many fans were impressed by Hiddleston's backside, which was in full view. It even earned the hashtag #Hiddlesbum, something Bier found very funny and a little hypocritical. "The funny thing is, if it was a woman there would have been no talk about it," Bier says, which is true since women are nude throughout the series. "Because finally a really attractive, great actor is being treated the same way had he been a woman and then it becomes really striking."
Bier doesn't like to do nudity just for nudity's sake and believes that she and Hiddleston both felt his strip down was "quite natural." She almost sees it as a requirement for this kind of sexy spy thriller. "We’re not doing anything which isn’t part of the storytelling," Bier tells Bustle. "I like when it’s an organic part of the story. I think it’s necessary then and that’s the way we’ve done it."
Of course, none of this comes as any kind of surprise to fans of Hiddleston. The actor is magnetic, and The Night Manager is just the latest project to prove that. However, it's always amazing to see a talented director like Bier praising the equal talent of an actor like Hiddleston — and is all the more reason to watch The Night Manager again and again.
Image: Mitch Jenkins/The Ink Factory/AMC (2)