Diary: Gladwell's new Entourage
Thursday 21 October 2010
Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker's eclectically barbered thinker-in-chief, is to turn his hand to a discipline in which he has somewhat fewer than 10,000 hours of experience: television production. The bestselling non-fiction writer (one of whose theories is that a genius requires 10,000 hours of practice to master his or her craft) has teamed up with "Marky" Mark Wahlberg to produce a drama series for HBO set during the Cold War. According to the Deadline Hollywood blog, the unnamed project will be based in Berlin, and "centers on a missionary who becomes involved in the CIA". It's not yet clear how much creative input the pair will have in the show. Wahlberg has past form at HBO, having produced the hipster "dramedies" Entourage and How To Make It In America, as well as the amply funded new Prohibition-era drama, Boardwalk Empire, with Martin Scorsese. Gladwell, on the other hand, has just one IMDb credit to his name so far, as co-writer on a TV movie unpromisingly titled Runaway Virus.
* To the PRWeek Awards at Grosvenor House, where Nick Clegg took the gong for "Communicator of the Year". Presumably, the Deputy PM was thus honoured for his sterling work at the televised election debates, which helped to win his party five fewer seats than in 2005. Or perhaps it was for the skilled rhetorical manoeuvres he's employed to explain away his party's policy reversals. Either way, this talent for communication deserted him at the ceremony on Tuesday evening: he sent two lackeys to pick up the award on his behalf, chief-of-staff Jonny Oates and press spokesperson Lena Pietsch. The response? Loud booing from the event's 1,500-plus guests. Tough crowd. But then, he'll be getting used to that by now.
* Another absentee: Saviour Of The World Gordon Brown once again failed to turn up to PMQs yesterday. Nor was he present for the CSR statement, to see his legacy impugned by George (né Gideon) Osborne. And yet, the ex-PM's spokesperson assured me: "He was in London, working." Working on a CSR rebuttal? Working up some economic bullet points for the new shadow Chancellor? Working on his mildly anticipated book, Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation? "He is doing his work." In Westminster? Didn't he have a few moments to pop in and hear the cuts clarified? "I'm not going to go into where he is every 10 minutes." Evidently not.
* Obscurity beckons not only Labour giants of old, but thrusting young Tories, too. "Ninety per cent of the people who voted for me last May do not have the first clue who I am," Nick Boles MP informed the Commons last week – a rather unfavourable reflection on the current affairs knowledge of his Grantham and Stamford constituents. Labour wag Graham Stringer offered to introduce him to the locals personally. "If they knew him," Stringer suggested, "there would perhaps be a different result in that constituency."
* Asked to reveal his favourite film at the London Film Festival, mayor Boris Johnson decided against his brother Leo's directorial effort, Eating and Weeping ("The worst story I've ever heard" – Sam Goldwyn, Jr). "Do you know, I quite like Jaws," Johnson (B) told Heart FM. "The hero is a mayor. Do you remember the mayor in Jaws? A great man." Actually, I do remember the mayor in Jaws. He refused to close the beaches for fear of putting off tourists, resulting in at least one shark-based death. The "great man" of the piece was the police chief, but then Boris never was a details man. Asked who'd play him in a film of his life, he replied: "It's obviously between Brad Pitt and Damon oojamaflip."
Sad news for fans of A Single Man, Tom Ford's Oscar-nominated directorial debut. The designer has no immediate plans for a follow-up. "Tom hasn't been doing anything film-related, and I can't see him having time to," Ford's partner, Richard Buckley, told me. "He's just so focused on the womenswear line at the moment." Good news for women, then.
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