Movie stars in Straw poll 2

By Bill Jacobs in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph

AL Pacino, Alan Rickman or Steve Coogan the Westminster guessing game has begun over who will play Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in a new film.

Blackburn producer and director Michael Winterbottom is planning to bring former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray’s story to cinema screens next year. And it will give further exposure to Mr Murray’s claims that he was dismissed by the Blackburn MP for criticising British policy in the former Soviet Republic.

Already Steve Coogan, who played Alan Partridge in Knowing Me, Knowing You, on BBC 2 is pencilled in to play the hapless diplomat who claims the Government ignored human rights abuses. And Mr Winterbottom said: “I think Alan Partridge could play both characters, emphasising they’re both sides of the same coin.”

Mr Murray, who stood against Mr Straw in Blackburn at the last general election, had a slightly more mischievous suggestion Alan Rickman, who immortalised the evil Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films. Mr Straw himself, clearly torn between embarrass-ment over the revelations in Mr Murray’s book and shyness at the prospect of movie stardom, would only say: “No comment”.

However, his East Lancashire MP colleagues had their own suggestions.

Mr Winterbottom has a long pedigree of directing controversial films including The Road to Guantanamo, about the treatment of British detainees in the US Camp Delta prison in Cuba and A Cock and Bull Story, the sexually explicit Nine Songs and 24-Hour Party People about Tony Wilson and Factory Records.

He said he was excited at the prospect of directing Mr Murray’s “Murder in Samarkand”, an account of his two years as ambassador to Uzbekistan, to which he has already bought the film rights. The book, due out in June despite strongest efforts by Mr Straw and the Foreign Office to block it, is described as “an incredible true story, espionage, torture, high politics, sex and murder”.

Government officials are set to take legal action to stop both the book and the film claiming they are misleading and incorrect and the criticism of colleagues as “unfair and unwarranted”. Mr Winterbottom said: “This is a splendid story and I am really looking forward to filming it. We have got the rights already and I hope to do it some time next year.”

Mr Murray, 47, said: “I don’t come across as a hero. I’m an ordinary fallible guy who could not go along with what the govern-ment was doing.” He said he had already met Mr Coogan, who was interested in the film, which was confirmed by Mr Winterbottom.

Ribble Valley Tory Nigel Evans said: “I would like Al Pacino to play Jack he has the sort of “Don’t mess with me” aura that the Foreign Secretary has acquired.”

Pendle Labour MP Gordon Prentice said: “Derek Jacobi would be ideal. Jack is a man of many parts and it would take a consummate actor like Jacobi to do him justice.”

Hyndburn Labour MP Greg Pope said: “I would like Bill Nighy to take the role. He would be perfect.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said discussions were going on with Mr Murray and they had made it clear it was not right to publish the book and it was “a betrayal of trust”. The Foreign Office claimed that Mr Murray’s dismissal came because he was suffering from personal problems not from his outspoken comments.

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2 thoughts on “Movie stars in Straw poll

  • Richard II

    This "excitement" over making a film about Uzbekistan seems a little out of place to me.

    Britain is, indeed, becoming more and more like America, where everything that happens in other countries, however dreadful, is viewed from the perspective of "how can we make money out of this?"

    I remember a PC game coming out not long after the first Gulf War. I couldn't believe a conflict, which had resulted in thousands of fleeing Iraqis being killed, and civilian infrastructure being destroyed (gratuitously!), had been turned into entertainment for us so-called civilized Westerners.

    If the game had been about a conflict that had happened long ago, I could understand, but a year or two after the event?

    "Look! An Iraqi! Kill him!"

    With a generation of brainwashed kids like this, no wonder Bush and Blair can declare war on the Middle East, claiming that this is a battle between a good civilization, the West's, and a bad civilization that's breeding terrorism and hatred, that wants us all destroyed.

    This, incredibly, is what Condoleeza Rice said recently:

    "If you really believe that the only thing that happened on 9/11 was people flew airplanes into buildings, I think you have a very narrow view of what we faced on 9/11…We faced the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that had to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of the new Middle East, and we will all be safer."

    "Old Iraq"; "New Iraq". "Old Middle East"; "New Middle East". "Old Europe"; "New Europe". The world being reshaped along American lines.

    Even I hate America now. I'm sick of the absolute disregard Americans have for foreign lives. All Americans care about is THEIR safety, THEIR lives, THEIR country, and if entangling other countries in their murderous foreign policy for the purpose of bombing the hell out of other nations and taking over their economies, makes them feel safer, then so be it.

    Americans would happily bomb Britain, if they felt it was necessary.

    America was attacked on September 11, 2001, NOT the West. And bin Laden is a CIA created asset, whose presence is unwanted in the majority of Arab countries.

    And if we are going to talk about who's a threat to who, let's remind ourselves of Britain, with help from the CIA, overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran. Britain was broke after WW2, and so desperately needed Iranian oil. In 1951, Iran – perfectly legally! – nationalised its oil industry; the Iranian government wanted to improve the lot of its workers who were being paid a pittance by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later to become BP). Britain stood to lose hundreds of millions in oil revenue if it was denied access. And it was! So it "invaded".

    No wonder religious extremists are getting the upper hand in the Arab world: Arabs have a choice between supporting them, or supporting the West, which has a long history of stealing from them.

    It was like the moon landing, with the American flag planted on Iraqi soil, property of the U.S. of A!

  • dorotherin

    Rickman!!! Rickman!!! The best worst guy ever 😉

    I don't think he has ever played a living person. That would be a CHALLENGE !

    Hope he would not be afraid 😉

    A loving fan.


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