Simm supplanted by Pitt in film version of 'State of Play'

John Simm, the star of Clocking Off, Sex Traffic and Life on Mars, is widely considered to be one of the best television actors to emerge in recent years. But he has been sidelined by Hollywood in the film version of one of his biggest successes, the political thriller State of Play.

In the latest example of the trend for British actors to be replaced by Americans, it was revealed yesterday that Brad Pitt is due to take the lead role in the film remake of the serial, a critical and commercial success for the BBC.

Paul Abbott, the writer of State of Play, disclosed in an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live that Pitt has agreed to take on the role of the journalist Cal McCaffrey, played by Simm in the six-part drama, first shown in 2003.

It was also confirmed yesterday that a planned second series of State of Play may not be made.

Abbot, who also wrote episodes of Cracker, as well as creating Clocking Off and Shameless, is executive producer on the film, which has been in the planning stage for two years.

The plotline is believed to have been switched to an American location, which would account for the choice of Pitt in the lead role. Matthew Carnahan, best known as a writer, is due to direct the film, which is expected to begin production next year.

Liz Thomas, a writer on television for The Stage newspaper said the making of the film was a good advertisement for British television, although the choice of Pitt was "frustrating" for domestic actors such as Simm.

She said: "British TV is certainly very hip in Hollywood these days and, despite criticisms that the Americans do drama better, pieces like State of Play show we can more than hold our own. Thankfully, Abbott is executive producer on the film so the gripping plot and beautifully crafted dialogue won't be lost in translation.''

She added: "The good thing about reworking the show into a big-budget, high-profile film is that it is a huge advert or shop window for the sort of things that have come out of the UK in recent years, particularly given the smaller budgets. Brad Pitt will be a huge draw and commercially this makes sense. But, of course, it is frustrating that, given the wealth of acting talent available, that it isn't a Brit."

The story of a team of journalists investigating the death of a political researcher, State of Play won a best actor Bafta for Bill Nighy, who played a newspaper editor, and further editing and sound honours. It also starred David Morrissey and Polly Walker.

Although the BBC was reported to have commissioned a second series of State of Play before the first was shown and Abbott was said to be writing the story earlier this year, it appears the project has been shelved. The BBC said it knew of no plans for a second series while a spokesman for Abbott said he was "undecided" on a follow-up.

One reason for the uncertainty is likely to be the high demand for the services of Abbott, Nighy and Simm, who is due to star in the second series of Life on Mars, also a critical success.

A tale of two actors

Brad Pitt

Age: 42

Born: Oklahoma, USA.

Training: Studied journalism at University of Missouri.

Career highs: Films include Interview with the Vampire (1994); Fight Club (1999) and the Ocean's Eleven trilogy.

Family: Actresss Angelina Jolie and daughter Shiloh, born in May this year.

Earnings: $25m (June 2004-June 2005).

Interests: Architecture and Third World aid.

Image: Twice voted Sexist Man Alive.

John Simm

Age: 36

Born: Leeds, raised in Nelson, Lancashire.

Training: Blackpool Drama College, then drama school in London.

Career highs: Won best actor award at Valencia Film Festival for Boston Kickout (1996). Starring roles in The Lakes (1997); 24-Hour Party People (2002); State of Play (2003) Sex Traffic (2004) and Life On Mars (2006).

Family: Actress Kate Magowan and son Ryan, five.

Earnings: Unknown, but 24-Hour Party People grossed £265,428 in the UK in 2002.

Outside interests: Manchester United.

Image: Northern soul boy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn