Brad Pitt almost played Tom Hiddleston's role in The Night Manager

Plans to adapt the John le Carré novel had been circulating long before it found a home at the BBC​

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The Independent Culture

Tom Hiddleston's magnetic performance in The Night Manager may have put the actor front and centre of all those Bond rumours, but things nearly turned out very differently for him. 

Plans to adapt the John le Carré novel had been circulating long before it found a home at the BBC, with studio Paramount originally snapping up rights back in 1993; with Mission: Impossible writer Robert Towne hired to write, and Oscar-winner Sydney Pollack set to direct. 

"It went into a big Hollywood development process," Simon Cornwell, who produced the BBC adaptation, stated while attending a Royal Television Society event (via Digital Spy); "But at the end of the day, they just ended up with a script that didn't quite fly - and perhaps that wasn't surprising, because it's a 600-page book which is not easy to distill into a 90-minute feature."

The project was shelved until a major star came along with interest in the role of Jonathan Pine; none other than Brad Pitt, who was set both to star in and produce the film. Until Pitt's version also fell through; with Cornwell explaining, "That suffered the same fate. It's actually a solid script, but it just didn't give you the depth of character."

Funnily enough, a competitor to Paramount's original optioning of the book back in 1993 was actually Hugh Laurie, who hoped at the time to play the role of Jonathan Pine himself; though he of course went on to star in the BBC series as villain Richard Roper. 

The Night Manager director Susanne Bier recently responded to the rumours of Tom Hiddleston as the next Bond; explaining that comparisons were natural since, "they’re both spies. So I don't think it's surprising. I think it's in the nature of the genre.”