The Diary: Timothy Spall; The Big Chill; Fargo; The King's Speech; Christian Marclay's The Clock


A Spall victory

Timothy Spall plays a grieving father whose son is killed in a cycling accident in a new silent film which will screen at the opening ceremony of the Olympics. BOY was chosen from 600 scripts by a panel including Richard E Grant for British Airways' Great Britons, a showcase for up-and-coming talent to mark the Games. "A huge number of scripts were about a granny and a 16-year old on a council estate. They had a grimness about them," says Grant. "This was much more universal. It's Rocky on wheels." The film will screen on BA flights from next month as well as at a pop-up cinema in East London from Wednesday. Prasanna Puwanarajah, 31, a doctor-turned-actor at the RSC and the National wrote the winning screenplay. "I wanted to examine what the act of putting on a Games does to a city," he says. "What's left when the circus has come and gone." The film was shot partly at the Olympic Velodrome. "There's a very odd atmosphere there. It's a cross between a gym, a prison and a cathedral," says Spall, who plays a carpenter who is building the track. "They are very strict on security. If you leave a door open for three seconds, an alarm goes off. They weren't going to let me in one day – which would have been fine by me. I'm a man who devotes himself to the pastime of Chablis, but I did 15 laps of that track."

Fund a festival

The Big Chill, one of the staples of the summer season, has already been cancelled this year, felled by Olympics-itis. Stepping up to fill the hole are two new events from its co-founders. Pete Lawrence ran The Big Chill for 14 years with his ex-partner Katrina Larkin. He resigned in 2008, the brand was bought by Festival Republic in 2009 and Larkin resigned a year later. Now, Lawrence is back with Alfresco, a low-key festival for just 499 ticket-holders at a secret location in Warwickshire in June. Larkin's offering is Nova, an arty festival with theatre, poetry and a real working pub, in Sussex in July. Lawrence aims to fund Alfresco using the proceeds from his memoir, The Big Chill and Other Alfresco Stories. Those wishing to be part of the "world's first crowd-funded festival" can pledge support via the website of the crowd-sourcing publisher Unbound. £10 will buy an eBook and a thank you on the back page; £100 a signed first edition and a pass to Alfresco. Think of it as either a very expensive read, or a cheap weekend away.

Murder-mystery movie reopened

Not content with remaking every British and Scandinavian drama in sight, American television producers are raiding the archives of Hollywood too. FX is in early talks with MGM to slice up Fargo, the Coen Brothers' Oscar-winning murder mystery from 1996, reports Variety. The studio, which emerged from bankruptcy in December 2010, recently repackaged another classic from its vaults, Teen Wolf, as a 12-part series on MTV. Fargo may prove trickier. The defunct cable channel Trio attempted a spin-off in 2003, written by Bruce Paltrow and directed by Kathy Bates, but not even Edie Falco in the Frances McDormand role of Marge could push it beyond a pilot episode.

The win in Winston

Are you Team Colin or Team Charles? The new West End take on The King's Speech offers ample opportunities for screen vs stage comparisons. When it comes to Winston Churchill, though, Ian McNeice surely has the edge on his film counterpart Timothy Spall – if only in terms of experience. McNeice, 61, is now on his sixth cigar-chomping, jowl-wobbling outing as Winnie. He was originally cast as the leader in Howard Brenton's Never So Good at the National in 2008 and has played him in four episodes of Doctor Who. That said, given the enduring popularity of wartime dramas, both he and Spall could have jobs for life, provided they don't mind a little typecasting.

Open all hours

How to survive a 24-hour film? With deep-fried snacks, of course. Visitors to a screening of Christian Marclay's The Clock at Los Angeles County Museum of Art last weekend were offered sustenance at a "24-hour pop-up doughnut show" across the street. ForYourArt's free "edible exhibition" featured a "curated selection" of delicacies from LA's finest round-the-clock shops – including such chefs d'oeuvre as the Stan's Doughnuts Chocolate Custard Puff and Maple Diner's Bacon Maple Doughnut. "ForYourArt seeks to use the donut as a metaphor to highlight a city that boasts multiple hubs of energy, each with its distinctive personality and flavour," I'm told.

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