The British series The Night Manager is currently airing weekly on AMC, and if you’re looking for a television fix outside of Sunday nights on AMC and HBO, this series is a more-than-suitable replacement. Some have been making comparisons to James Bond, but I don’t really see it, other than the fact that it’s British, is beautifully shot all over Europe, and it features a suave, charming Tom Hiddleston playing a hotel manager turned spy.
I think of it more like a British Donnie Brasco, with Hiddleston’s spy infiltrating the entourage of an arms dealer (played deliciously by Hugh Laurie) who gets so caught up in playing the part that the lines begin to blur. It’s an intoxicating series, a gorgeous-looking spy thriller (based on a novel by John le Carré) that’s as much a character study as it is a thriller.
Hiddleston is at his most appealing, and Hugh Laurie has been singled out by many for his awards-worthy evil turn. He’s a real son of a bitch, the kind of guy who starts wars that end with thousands of dead children just to turn a profit. He’s the kind of character perfect for Mark Strong in a shorter format, but Laurie has time to give him some nuance, making him detestable but not hate-able. It’s the power of Laurie.
The unexpected draw to the series, however, is Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Jed, the young wife of Laurie’s character, with whom Hiddleston’s character has a powerful attraction. He is not alone in this. She is a short-haired alabaster goddess who has femme fatale written all over her: She is both sexy and dangerous, and plays the line between vulnerable and powerful perfectly. I have seen four of the six episodes of The Night Manager, and I do not yet know how it plays out, but I would not be surprised if she’s either playing both sides, or she’s a spy herself.
In either respect, she makes my heart race. She is conventionally attractive, like a cross between young Emma Thompson and Anna Torv, but there’s also a little of SWINTON’s alien genes swirling around in her DNA that gives her an otherworldly quality.
If she looks familiar to you, you may have noticed her in a similar role in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which was much more fun than it had any right to be. She played a cold villainess.
She also played Jordan Baker in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.
In the near future, we should be seeing even more of her. She has a number of films in development, including the God Particle with John Krasinski, but the most high-profile one is Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Her role is being kept under wraps, although it’s almost certainly not Captain Marvel. However, it could be Mistress Death, and even if you know nothing else about that character, Debicki is perfect for the name of the role, alone: Smart. Sexy. Deadly.