At 62, Jagger's career takes a funny turn in US sitcom

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Mick Jagger has been feted, idolised, busted for drugs, schmoozed by French politicians, courted by some of the world's most beautiful women and cast in a number of movies. But agreeing to be the victim of a Manhattan penthouse robbery for the benefit of US network television is a new one even for him.

The 62-year-old Rolling Stone was reported yesterday to have agreed to take the pivotal role in a new television series being developed at ABC.

The premise is both simple and alluring: a janitor in a swanky New York apartment building becomes so enraged by the carefree lifestyle of Manhattan's rich and famous that he and a group of like-minded associates decide to track one down and take him for everything he's got.

Their target, at least in the pilot episode, is none other than Jagger, who read the script a few weeks ago and liked it so much that he has already completed his scenes while on one of his frequent world tours. (A hotel room in Auckland stood in for the Manhattan penthouse).

The series is the brainchild of Rob Burnett, whose day job is executive producer for the late-night chat show host David Letterman, and his partner Jon Beckerman. They were interested in exploring the sort of real-time, reality TV-inflected material that has been so successfully produced in shows such as 24 (about an anti-terrorism unit and its multiple races against time) and Lost (about the survivors of an air crash) - only they wanted to make their show funny.

Having settled on the idea of a celebrity heist caper, they then needed to find a celebrity. For months, as they were developing the scripts and pitching the idea to network executives, they thought of Jeff Goldblum, known for his work in The Big Chill, The Fly and Jurassic Park.

Executives at ABC (and at a couple of other networks) loved the idea, but there was one snag: nobody had actually approached Goldblum to see if he was willing. As it turned out, he was and he wasn't. He liked the concept but was committed to a pilot for ABC's rival NBC. That was when Jagger's name was first floated.

In time-honoured Hollywood fashion, the script was shipped to Jagger's people, who liked it enough to pass it on to the main man. He, in turn, was enthused and called Burnett to tell him he would do it. A shooting schedule was established, and the production team headed out to New Zealand to record his scenes.

"He did a lot of ad-libbing," Burnett told The New York Times. "Some of the funniest stuff in the pilot came from him. He's just a smart, funny guy."

Between now and the autumn, ABC will have to decide if it wants to order a whole season of shows. If it does, Jagger will be committed to further shoots.

"We'll work around his schedule," Burnett said.

It is unlikely that his participation would stretch beyond a single season, hence the assumption that the show's working title - Let's Rob Mick Jagger - will have to change.

Burnett told The New York Times that if the show extended into multiple seasons a different celebrity could be targeted each time.

Rolling Stone on film

Mick Jagger has never starred in a sitcom, but he's no stranger to acting. Nic Roeg cast him in his first significant part - as a rock star - in Performance (1970). That was followed by a starring turn as the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly in the eponymous film directed by Tony Richardson.

He has restricted himself to bit-parts since then, but he has also hosted Saturday Night Live, NBC's iconic comedy showcase, and dabbled in production.

A remake of the George Cukor classic The Women, in which he plays an active producing role, is out this year with Annette Bening and Meg Ryan leading an all-star cast.