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Firth leapt at chance to play Le Carre spy

Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth says his supporting role in 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy', showing at the Venice film festival, is a meaty one.

Firth explained last night that he jumped at the chance to play a calm intelligence agent in the screen version of John Le Carre's 1974 spy tale because it was "the best of the menu".

Swedish director Tomas Alfredson's rendition of the Cold War classic is a slow-brewing, elegant re-telling of the novel. It's a spy story without James Bond sexy antics or without the fast action of 'Bourne Identity'.

The Venice festival has largely lived up to its billing so far this year, providing a line-up of movies which has pleased most critics.

As the world's oldest film festival hits halfway, George Clooney's political thriller 'The Ides of March' and Roman Polanski's comedy 'Carnage' lead the charge for the coveted Golden Lion for best picture.

Irish Independent