Gary Oldman feels "lucky" to be able to play a leading role in 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'.

The British actor stars as spy George Smiley in the forthcoming drama adaptation - which also stars Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and John Hurt - and despite many proclaiming his performance to be one of his best, he doesn't think he would be able to do a good job without an excellent team around him.

He said: "He is such a brilliant character, as are those around him. Really, I'm very lucky to have had the opportunity of playing this part.

"If people like the character then it's because the author and then the writers of the screenplay have created the landscape and the roadmap."

The character has previously starred in five of John Le Carre's novels and two television series starring Alec Guinness, but he believes his interpretation is rather different to what has gone before.

He said: "Our version of George Smiley is a littler crueller, and a littler harder, perhaps, than some of the earlier Incarnations.

"He has a strong moral sense, a strong moral compass, but he recognises and understands the dark, unethical and ugly side of what he does."