Belfast Telegraph

Hugh Laurie spent two decades on The Night Manager adaptation

Hugh Laurie insists there are no plans to extend his hit thriller beyond six episodes.

British actor Hugh Laurie spent more than 20 years fighting to have his new mini-series The Night Manager adapted for the screen.

The espionage drama is based on John le Carre's 1993 novel of the same name and stars Tom Hiddleston as concierge-turned-spy Jonathan Pine attempting to dupe Laurie's villainous arms dealer Richard Roper.

Plans for the series were announced in 2014, but Laurie reveals he has been working on getting the project off the ground ever since first reading the story upon its release.

"I read this novel... and I fell in love with it instantly," he explained on U.S. breakfast show Today. "This is the only time in my life I've ever tried to option a book. I'm not a producer, I don't know anything about it, but this is the one time.

"I think I was three chapters in and I said, 'This has to be on the screen. This is one of the greatest stories I've ever read.' It's so beautifully romantic, it's so thrilling, and it's about a subject that matters: arms dealing. This is what's fuelling conflicts around the world, this is an enormous industry in the U.K. and here (in the U.S.), and it's just a subject I found absolutely fascinating. I couldn't wait."

It took Laurie a while to get cameras rolling and he confesses he had previously hoped to tackle Hiddleston's lead role himself.

"Of course back then, in the Nineties, I arrogantly assumed I could play the young stud of a hero!" the 56-year-old laughed. "Those days slipped away from me, my hair fell out, and so I wound up playing the bad guy! But I don't mind, I'm happy to play any part in it."

The six-part BBC series has already proved a hit in the U.K., where it began airing in February (16), attracting more than eight million viewers each week, and The Night Manager is set to premiere in the U.S. next week (19Apr16).

However, both Laurie and Hiddleston have already ruled out any talk of a sequel, after BBC executives were rumoured to be interested in extending the story beyond le Carre's book.

"As it stands, Pine exists for six hours in a mini series. The story feels complete," Hiddleston stated last week (ends10Apr16), according to the Sunday Mirror. "I only ever conceived of it as an adaptation of a complete novel.

"We made some alterations, we updated it so it had a political resonance and we changed the ending a little bit. I know the rumours about it extending, but none of that is real."

Laurie added, "It's based on a novel, we've got to the end of the novel and John le Carre has yet to write another novel. So, in cold practical terms, no (there's no second season), we're done."

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