We are delighted to be bringing John le Carré’s latest book, ‘Our Kind of Traitor’, to the screen. The fast paced and timely thriller introduces us to some great new characters, none more so than the potentially iconic Russian money launderer, Dima.
The Dima of the book is a brazen crook and philanderer, but also a wildly charming husband and loving father. In this short and amusing excerpt from a recent interview in the UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper, John le Carré reveals part of where the inspiration came from…
It was during a trip to Moscow almost 20 years ago that he came across the real Dima. He had told an old KGB contact that he wanted to meet one of the big time crooks and along with the hilariously named bodyguard Pussia (‘It was nice to have him there. Especially since he was a wrestling champion.’) he was told to turn up at the nightclub Dima owned in Moscow.
His instructions were to arrive at 2am and bring no weapons. ‘There were a flank of moody men with grenades strapped to their waists as we went in. It was a bit like a theatre with tables and a tiny dance floor.
‘After a long wait, Dima, flanked by a bevy of heavies and a posse of pretty, pouty, scantily clad young women, deigned to arrive. He was a big monster of a man who looked like Telly Savalas. Just as I describe him in the book.’
Eventually le Carré was told he could approach. ‘I walked over and the only way I could get near him was to kneel on the dance floor at his feet. It was like staring into the eyes of a tiger. There was nothing there behind the eyes. His people were very unsmiling and the girls were already bored with me. And I didn’t know what the hell to ask him. So I said: “They tell me you are a crook, a gangster.” He nodded. I said: “It must be very easy to be a gangster in this kind of economy, how much are you worth?” He just shrugged.
‘I said: “Ten million dollars?” He didn’t speak. “Fifty million?” Nothing. Then I told him that when the robber barons came into the United States in the Twenties they had people killed. They robbed. But then, when their children and grandchildren were born, they got out because the ripped-off society they had created was affecting their own. And I asked him if he was going to do something like that.
‘He bent down to my interpreter and spoke quickly in Russian. I was nodding like a fool, not knowing if he was angry or not. The interpreter looked at me in embarrassment and said: ‘‘Mr (le Carré), I regret to tell you that Mr Dima says: ‘Fuck off’.’’