The Diary: Matthew Weiner; Damien Hirst; M-J Delaney; Dr Dee; Mia Wasikowska


Still mad for the idea

How to follow Mad Men? If you're Matthew Weiner, you raid your bottom drawer and take the opportunity of being the toast of LA to dust off a long-cherished script. The creator of the popular television series is now preparing to make his big-screen debut with the comedy drama You Are Here. Weiner will also direct the film, about two 30-something slackers who embark on a road trip when one inherits a fortune from his father. "This movie has been my passion for eight years," Weiner told Variety. "I can't wait to get started because the movie is about everything I care about and I'm tired of reading it out loud to my friends." Originally The Hangover's Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis and Jennifer Aniston were attached, then Matt Dillon, Jack Black and Renee Zellweger before the line-up settled on Owen Wilson, Galifianakis and Saturday Night Live regular Amy Poehler. Weiner has directed one film previously, a black-and-white semi-autobiographical comedy in 1996 called What Do You Do All Day, which he funded by competing on the gameshow Jeopardy but which was never released. In it, he played a film-school graduate and failed writer who spends his days watching TV, dreaming of a hit.

Send in the clowns

There is plenty to startle the lily-livered at Tate Modern's Damien Hirst retrospective – just-hatched flies feeding on a severed cow's head, pickled lambs, a fetid room full of live, giant butterflies, that sort of thing. Perhaps the most shocking works, though, are those tucked away on a balcony behind the wall of cigarette butts in Room 4. Here, a monitor plays a selection of Hirst's macabre videos, including A Couple of Cannibals Eating a Clown (I Should Coco), a 20-minute work from 1993 in which Hirst and his fellow YBA, Angus Fairhurst, who committed suicide in 2008, recount grisly tales of death while dressed up as circus clowns, chain-smoking and spraying one another with silly string. Also showing is DO IT, a 96-second film from 1995 curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, in which Hirst toys with an unloaded gun and demonstrates the best way to commit suicide. The roll also includes the artist's lurid, Benny Hill-style video for Blur's No 1 hit "Country House", complete with Hirstian leitmotifs of skulls, scurrying rats and abundant pills. All in all, not for the faint-hearted.

Channel 4 short is M-J's cup of tea

She directed one of the most infectious virals of recent times – "Newport State of Mind", which transposed Alicia Keys's anthem of New York to Wales – now M-J Delaney, 24, is to make her television debut with a short film starring This Is England's Thomas Turgoose. Ben and Lump is a quirky coming-of-age tale by Tom Wells about two schoolfriends in a North-Eastern seaside town whose lives diverge. Morgan-Jane Delaney graduated from Oxford with a first in English in 2007 and last year her advert for Aldi tea, starring a po-faced pensioner, was voted the UK's most popular. Her half-hour drama will screen alongside the work of six new talents as part of Channel 4's Coming Up season. Also showing is New Cross by Laura Neal, in which Carl (Russell Tovey) meets the girl of his dreams only to find she isn't all that she seems, and Camouflage, Lydia Adetunji's story of a make-up artist starring Ashley Walters and Lara Pulver.

Dancing with Dr Dee

It was the highlight of last year's Manchester International Festival and will return for the London 2012 Festival, but who will sing the lead in Damon Albarn's folk opera Dr Dee when it opens at the London Coliseum in June? The opera has, according to Albarn, developed into a "more rounded and satisfactory piece" since its debut, when Bertie Carvel took the title role. Casting for the London run has not been announced but it's unlikely that Carvel will be able to reprise the part, being otherwise engaged at the moment as a show-stopping Miss Trunchbull in Matilda on the other side of Covent Garden.

Mia in action

Is Mia Wasikowska the new Maggie Smith? Not quite, but she's cornering the period-drama market in Hollywood. Having played Alice in Wonderland and Jane Eyre, the Australian actress, 22, has now been cast as Madame Bovary in a version of Flaubert's classic to be directed by Sophie Barthes. Wasikowska will follow her compatriot Frances O'Connor, who played the adulterous heroine opposite Hugh Bonneville in the last screen outing of the novel, on the BBC, in 2000. Next stop Lizzy Bennet? It has been at least 10 minutes since the last Pride and Prejudice.

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Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)


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