Kim Cattrall sets her sights on No.10: Sex and the City star's movie love triangle with ex-PM
By BAZ BAMINGBOYE 11th December 2008
Kim Cattrall and Olivia Williams are going to be like two cats in a sack when they clash over the same man — a Tony Blair-like former Prime Minister to be played by Pierce Brosnan.
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski has chosen the two actresses to be his leading ladies in his film The Ghost, based on Robert Harris’s controversial bestseller about fictional ex-occupants of No.10, former premier Adam Lang and his razer-sharp, politically savvy wife Ruth.
As Prime Minister Lang bent over backwards to put the American agenda first, his former foreign secretary believes Lang to be guilty of war crimes.
Olivia will play the fiesty Ruth, with Kim (hot from Sex And The City: The Movie) as Lang’s highly efficient private secretary, Amelia.
Kim met Polanski in Paris for lunch to discuss the film.‘They had a lovely lunch and fell in love with each other, in a manner of speaking,’ the film’s executive producer Timothy Burrill told me yesterday.
In the book, and the screenplay, Ruth spends a lot of time putting down Amelia because she’s pretty certain her husband and his secretary were intimate. But Ruth’s eye will also do a spot of roving.
The title refers to the ghostwriter who is brought in to help pen Lang’s memoir, and Ewan McGregor is an excellent choice to portray the British writer who travels to America to assist Lang.
At one point, Nicolas Cage had been foisted on to the production to play the ghost-writer, but he would have been totally unsuitable and it’s a relief that he’s had scheduling problems.
The film, a combination of thriller (there’s a murder) and romance, starts filming on locations in Germany, with a second unit doing some shooting in London in early February.
‘Roman's delighted with both his leading actresses and his leading men,’ Mr Burrill said, when I rang him to confirm the castings.
The Sunday Times December 14, 2008 Roman Polanski to sex up tale of ‘Tony Blair’s ghost’ Richard Brooks, Arts Editor
Politics is said to be showbiz for ugly people, but a sexual thriller is to portray “Tony Blair” and his Downing Street circle in a flattering light.
In the cinema adaptation of Robert Harris’s novel, The Ghost, the former prime minister – or a character suspiciously similar – will be played by Pierce Brosnan, star of four James Bond films.
The director will be the Oscar-winning Roman Polanski, while “Cherie” is to be played by Olivia Williams, who starred alongside Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense.
In a touch that may dismay the Blairs, however, the love interest is Kim Cattrall, the Sex and the City actress, who will give a vampish portrayal of a character not far off Anji Hunter, the former prime minister’s confidante and Downing Street “gatekeeper”.
Hunter’s alter ego in the novel has a far closer relationship, as she and the premier are entangled in an affair.
When The Ghost was published last year, it caused a furore and Harris repeatedly refused to confirm it was even based on the Blair circle. It was hard not to see the similarities, however, between Blair and Adam Lang, the book’s ex-premier, who is looking for a ghostwriter, played by Ewan McGregor, for his memoirs.
The overbearing Ruth, Lang’s wife, has strong echoes of Cherie, while Amelia Bly fills the role of Hunter. Harris now admits that the characters were drawn from Blair’s circle.
The film’s cast are more attractive than the real personalities are perceived to be, however.
“We didn’t want lookalikes, but we did want and we’ve now got very attractive and very good actors for the key roles,” said Harris, who has also written the script of the film, which begins shooting in February.
Polanski, whose Oscar-winning films include Chinatown and The Pianist, will be directing in studios in Berlin and on the island of Sylt, off northern Germany. The island will double as Martha’s Vineyard, the American establishment’s resort off the Massachusetts coast where much of the book is set.
The roster of names such as Polanski, Brosnan, Cattrall and McGregor shows Harris has stepped up a rung on the cinema ladder. His novel Fatherland was turned into a made-for-television film, while Enigma, another adaptation, starring Kate Winslet, Matthew Macfadyen and Dougray Scott, was moderately successful at the cinema.
Harris and Polanski, who lives in Paris, have been closeted together for the past four days in the French capital working on the final script. “It follows my book very closely,” said Harris.
The plot’s storyline delves into the murky pasts of the Langs and their close ties to America and ends with a twist.
It also depicts affairs between Adam Lang and Bly, and another between Ruth Lang and the Ghost.
In the past, it has been hinted, without evidence, that Blair had a fling with Hunter before he met Cherie. In the book and the film, Ruth Lang is clearly jealous of Bly.
“This is a psychological and sexual thriller,” said Harris. “It’s a four-person sexual drama. But it was not a bonkbuster book, and nor will it be a bonkbuster film.”
Brosnan was Polanski’s first choice to play Lang as he wanted a charismatic figure as the former premier. Williams, 40, also starred in this year’s BBC drama Miss Austen Regrets.
But perhaps the biggest surprise is the casting of Cattrall, who was born in Britain and only found fame in her forties as Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.
The film should be completed by next autumn with its release soon after. “I want to be sure it’s out before Tony Blair’s own memoirs are published,” said Harris.
In October 2007, four months after he left office, Blair finalised a £4.6m deal with Random House, the publisher, for his memoirs. The firm will not say how much has been written or give a date for publication.
Will Blair, like Adam Lang, have someone else to do the writing? “There will absolutely not be a ghost,” said a senior executive at Random House. “He is writing himself.”
Prime ministerial portrayals – what the critics said:
“A Cheshire cat-grinning schoolboy, bursting with coltish enthusiasm.” Michael Sheen as Tony Blair in The Queen, 2006
“My first reaction is, ‘Nah, that’s never Maggie, looks nothing like her’. That and ‘phwoar’.” Andrea Riseborough in the BBC’s The Long Road to Finchley, 2008
“His stuffy drawl through his soup-strainer moustache is spot on.” Jeremy Irons on stage as Macmillan in Never So Good, 2008
Ewan may be a bit too young and cheeky, but I can't say I regret Cage's departure. Try as I might, I was having trouble envisioning him in the role. I was looking forward to Tilda Swinton, though.
There have been headlines recently that the NSA were routinely eavesdropping on Tony Blair throughout the Bush years. (Our own allies, tsk, tsk. Whatever happened to the special relationship!) So, perhaps, there might be material for another book. <wink>
Well we know what Andy Osnard would say about how special that relationship is.
Ewan is an improvement on Cage as far as this character goes though I'd prefer if it was an actor a few years older and more Lived in". Tilda is a loss, but I like Olivia Williams - though they seem to be two entirely different kinds of actresses. from the work I've seen Williams come across as rather soft (or maybe warm is more correct) and that's not a word(s) I'd ever use to describe Tilda's performances.
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski is to direct The Ghost, based on the best-selling novel by Robert Harris (Hutchinson), and winner of the International Thriller Writers' Award 2008. Harris is working with Polanski in adapting the novel for the screen, and shooting will begin in Berlin in February 2009.
The Ghost tells the story of recently retired British prime minister, Adam Lang (played by Pierce Brosnan), cloistered on Martha's Vinyard during a winter, where he is attempting to write his memoirs. When his long-standing aide drowns, he hires a ghostwriter (played by Ewan McGregor) to help him finish the project. The ghostwriter is quickly drawn into a web of sexual intrigue involving Lang's wife. Meanwhile, the threat of a war crimes tribunal hangs over the former PM's head, and a figure from his past threatens to jeopardise international relations. James Belushi and James Pugh will also star, while Mrs Lang will be played by Olivia Williams.
Does Pierce know this film is about to start shooting in Feb? Maybe they're shooting some exteriors first or scenes w/o him.
OSCAR®-WINNING FILMMAKER ROMAN POLANSKI’S UPCOMING POLITICAL THRILLER THE GHOST TO STAR EWAN MCGREGOR, PIERCE BROSNAN, KIM CATTRALL, TOM WILKINSON, JIM BELUSHI AND OLIVIA WILLIAMS
Project to Begin Production in Germany February 2009
PARIS, January 21, 2009 — Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski is to direct his first contemporary thriller in more than twenty years. His new project, THE GHOST, will begin shooting in Berlin in two weeks’ time, on February 4th. The movie tells the story of a former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang, (played by Pierce Brosnan) who is holed up on an island off the Eastern seaboard of the USA in midwinter, writing his memoirs. When his long-standing aide drowns, a professional ghostwriter (played by Ewan McGregor) is sent out to help him finish the book. The anonymous ghostwriter is quickly drawn into a political and sexual intrigue involving Lang’s wife, Ruth (played by Olivia Williams) and his aide (played by Kim Cattrall). Hanging over Lang is the threat of a war crimes trial and a mysterious secret from his past that threatens to jeopardize international relations. Jim Belushi, Robert Pugh and recent Golden Globe® Tom Wilkinson have also joined the cast.
THE GHOST is based on the novel by the same name written by best-selling author Robert Harris. It won the International Thriller Writers’ Award for best novel of 2008. Harris joined Polanski in adapting the book for the big screen.
Polanski will produce the film along with Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde.
Summit International, which has a long-standing relationship with Polanski and the producers, is representing the worldwide rights to the film for RP Productions and has already pre-sold a number of major territories around the globe including: Pathé in France; Kinowelt in Germany; Optimum in the UK; Rai Cinema, S.P.A. in Italy; Acme UAB in the Baltic States; Dutch Filmworks in Benelux; SPI International in Eastern Europe; Odeon S.A. in Greece; Sam Film in Iceland; United King in Israel; Sun Distribution Group S.A. in Latin America; Jaguar Films in the Middle East; Lusomundo in Portugal; AB Svensk in Scandinavia; and WPM Film in Thailand. A U.S. distributor has yet to be announced. ICM is representing North American rights.
“There are great roles at the heart of the movie and we got great actors to play them. I couldn’t be happier,” said Roman Polanski.
Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde stated, “After THE PIANIST and OLIVER TWIST, it’s a thrill to make a thriller with Polanski.”
Summit International’s CEO Patrick Wachsberger said, “We are so thrilled to be working again with Roman Polanski in a genre that he mastered over the years with KNIFE IN THE WATER, CUL-DE-SAC and FRANTIC.”
Ewan McGregor will next be seen in ANGELS & DEMONS and is well known for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in STAR WARS EPISODE I, II, and III as well as his starring roles in TRAINSPOTTING, BIG FISH and MOULIN ROUGE! for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor.
Pierce Brosnan most recently starred in MAMMA MIA! and the upcoming THE GREATEST, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this January. The respected actor has brought many great roles to the screen including his Golden Globe nominated performance in THE MATADOR.
Kim Cattrall is best known for her role as Samantha Jones in both the recent theatrical blockbuster success SEX AND THE CITY and the HBO Series of the same name.
Olivia Williams played opposite Bruce Willis in THE SIXTH SENSE and her other credits include PETER PAN and EMMA.
Jim Belushi’s has appeared in numerous films and is well known for his role in the television series “According to Jim” and for his performances on Saturday Night Live.
Robert Pugh was seen in THE LAST LEGION and MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD.
Tom Wilkinson recently won a Golden Globe for his supporting role in the HBO mini-series JOHN ADAMS. Wilkinson also starred in VALKYRIE as well as MICHAEL CLAYTON.
Filming will take place mainly in Studio Babelsberg and as well as additional locations in Berlin.
The production is set up as a French-German-UK Coproduction between RP Films (F) 11, Babelsberg Film (Ger) and Runteam III (UK). Henning Molfenter, Carl L. Woebcken and Christoph Fisser (Studio Babelsberg) will co-produce the film along with Timothy Burrill (Runteam). Other production credits include Oliver Luer as line producer, Daniel Champagnon as production supervisor, Pawel Edelman as director of photography, Albrecht Konrad as production designer, Dinah Collin as costume designer, Fiona Weir as casting supervisor, Ralph Remstedt as first assistant director, Sylvette Baudrot as script supervisor, Jean-Marie Blondel as sound engineer, Didier Lavergne the Oscar winner make up designer and Hervé de Luze as editor.
McGregor is represented by Endeavor. Brosnan is represented by CAA. Williams is represented by Independent Talent. Polanski, Cattrall and Belushi are represented by ICM. Pugh is represented by Emptage Gallett in the UK. Wilkinson is represented by Lou Coulson Associates.
Roman Polanski, the Academy Award®-winning director of THE PIANIST (2002) received his first Oscar® nomination for his 1964 film KNIFE IN THE WATER. Another Oscar nomination followed for the screenplay adaptation of the 1968 psychological thriller ROSEMARY'S BABY. Polanski was again nominated for Best Director in 1974 for CHINATOWN and once more in 1979 for TESS. To date he has directed 17 features in addition to several productions of live theatre.
British writer Robert Harris is the author of Fatherland (1992), a New York Times bestseller which imagined that Germany won World War II, subsequently made into an HBO movie starring Rutger Hauer and Miranda Richardson. His second novel Enigma (1995) about the breaking of the German Enigma code, was turned into a film starring Kate Winslet with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Archangel (1998) became a BBC mini-series in 2005, starring Daniel Craig. In 2003, Harris turned his attention towards Ancient Rome with his acclaimed Pompeii. He followed this with Imperium (2006), the first of a trilogy of novels about the life of Rome's great orator, Cicero.
They have really started shooting today. No word though if the 'stars' are there already. Shooting is scheduled from Feb 4th until April 30th, so Pierce could still have enough time to do 'Heaven and Earth' during Febuary.
Timothy Hutton haunts 'Ghost' pic Roman Polanski film starts shooting this week
By Borys Kit
Feb 6, 2009
BERLIN -- Timothy Hutton has joined the cast of Roman Polanski's "The Ghost."
The film, which begins shooting this week in Berlin, tells the tale of a ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) who is hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan). When he uncovers secrets, his own life is put in jeopardy.
Hutton plays the role of the prime minister's American lawyer. Tom Wilkinson, James Belushi and Kim Cattrall also are in the cast.
Polanski is producing the film along with Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde and Patrick Wachsberger. The film is based on the book by Robert Harris
Hutton stars in TNT's "Leverage," which was recently renewed and has new episodes scheduled to air in the summer. The actor is coming off three movies that recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival: "Lymelife," "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men," and "The Killing Room."
Well, it's not the most serious German newspaper. As suspected - Pierce isn't in Berlin yet. In contrast McGregor and Belushi have already arrived, EwanMcGregor.de reports.
not a perfect translation:
Cancelation of the day
Her majesty's secret agent is sickly
Cult director Roman Polanski's being in town since days, in Potsdam-Babelsberg he's shooting the political thriller 'the ghost'. Beside Kim Cattrall and Ewan McGregor Pierce Brosnan is also part of the cast. But the former James Bond hero hasn't arrived in Berlin to date. Members of the Polanski-crew report, that he's called in sick surprisingly.
Polanski transforms German island into Martha’s Vineyard
Roman Polanski has begun filming his new thriller ‘The Ghost’ on the German island of Sylt on the North Sea.
The local port was turned into a film studio and many wooden buildings were refaced to resemble American style houses. Sylt is being transformed to resemble the American popular vacation spot Martha’s Vineyard, on the Atlantic Ocean.
Polanski, who is not allowed into the United States because he has been convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1973, chose instead to film in Germany.
The film crew is composed of 120 people. Ewan McGregor plays the lead role. Pierce Brosnan will also appear in the film.
The Polanski film crew will be on-location on the island until the 6 March. The film’s release date has not yet been announced.