From Times Online
A celluloid headache awaits the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The controversial memoirs of Craig Murray (former Ambassador to Uzbekistan) are to be made into a movie.
Slightly weirdly, Michael Winterbottom, the director (24 Hour Party People, The Road to Guant’namo), has optioned Murder in Samarkand, which ‘ court battles permitting ‘ is due to be published in June.
Very weirdly, he plans to cast Steve Coogan in the lead role. Can it be true? ‘Actually, yes,’ says Murray. ‘It’s extremely good news. I’ve met with Michael, and with Steve Coogan, and with a, well, a very well-known screenwriter, whose name I’m not going to divulge.’
Murray’s book lifts the lid on torture and corruption in the former Soviet state and alleges lazy complicity on the part of Downing Street and the FCO. It doesn’t, in short, sound like typical Alan Partridge fare.
‘There are elements of dark comedy in the story,’ shrugs Murray, ‘and Steve Coogan has shown that he has quite a dramatic range.’
And who should play Jack Straw, the man whom Murray evidently considers to be his nemesis? The former ambassador lets out a dark laugh. ‘I think it is a role tailor-made for Alan Rickman,’ he says.