Hit & Run: Monroe or misfits?
Tuesday 04 August 2009
When Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, Joan Holloway was so devastated that she had to go and lie down in a darkened room for an entire afternoon. "This world destroyed her," she wept to her uncomprehending boss. Joan is fictional – the sad but sassy secretary whose sexuality dominates the offices of Sterling Cooper in the TV drama Mad Men – but her reaction to the star's demise is entirely realistic.
Almost half a century after she died, Monroe remains an icon even to generations of filmgoers far too young to have seen her films when they were released. Little wonder then that a new film project about the ill-fated star has already got the movie media buzzing with speculation as to which of the current crop of young stars will play her.
My Week With Marilyn has been adapted from the book of the same name by Colin Clark, brother of the late Tory MP Alan Clark. In 1956, the 23-year-old Clark got a job as a runner on the London set of The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Monroe and Laurence Olivier. When Marilyn's new husband, playwright Arthur Miller, left for Paris, Olivier appointed Clark to look after her. For a week, Clark escorted her around London and introduced her to some of the city's sights – including the Queen's private apartments at Windsor.
The forthcoming film, to be directed by Simon Curtis (who made several episodes of Cranford as well as the acclaimed mini-series Five Days), has a number of names loosely attached to it, the most prominent being that of Scarlett Johansson, whose blonde curls and luscious lips have seen her cast as a Marilyn-alike for more than one photo session, and she appears sporting Monroe-inspired platinum curls in her current incarnation as the face of Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics. Michelle Williams, Amy Adams and Kate Hudson are also cited as possible Norma Jeans.
Lindsay Lohan will no doubt be keen, too. Li-Lo – who last year posed for a recreation of Marilyn's final photoshoot – has supposedly been pitching a remake of Some Like it Hot to Hollywood bigwigs, with herself as leading lady. But Hit & Run would like to suggest yet another actress. If she can find the time amid filming commitments for Mad Men, which returns to US screens this month. Christina Hendricks, aka Joan Holloway, would slip snugly into Marilyn's skin. As one of the show's fictional male ad writers told a colleague when asked if Joan was a "Marilyn type": "Well, Marilyn is really a Joan." Tim Walker
Reading between the lines
OK, boys, we get the picture. As if they are trying to impress an officious schoolmarm, the reading habits of Britain's MPs, as revealed in a survey published earlier this week, all seem to be rather studious. Perhaps that's just as well, given how naughty our great leaders have been recently. If we count the most popular books across all parties, leading the list of summer reads this year is A View from the Foothills, the memoirs of Labour MP Chris Mullin, retiring at the next general election (good to study, so one can work out what not to do); D-Day, the Battle of Normandy by Antony Beevor (voters love a bit of patriotism) as well as A Team of Rivals, which focuses on the political genius of Abraham Lincoln (dream on, people). Unfortunately for our MPs, third place in the poll, commissioned by Waterstone's, is the recent bestseller, The Girl Who Played With Fire by the Swedish writer Stieg Larsson. Its plot centres on "misogynist men and the women they exploit" and explores themes like vigilantism and how responsible a criminal is for their crimes. Hmmm. When it comes to summer reading, it seems, you can take the boy out of Westminster but his horizons are unlikely to change. Rob Sharp
A first-class excuse to pop down to the boozer
Despite a history stretching back some 250 years, until last Friday the Gunn Inn, Hyde, had little to offer by way of a claim to fame. True, the late 'Coronation Street' actress Pat Phoenix had once lived around the corner with the actor Antony Booth, but such tenuous connections to the corridors of power can not compete with the fact that, last week, the Gunn became the first public house in Britain to accept a parcel on behalf of a local who knew they would not be home when the postie knocked.
The Use Your Local scheme is the brainchild of Stuart Mills, a former manager of the brewery giant Scottish & Newcastle who had become alarmed at the fact that some 52 pubs are closing every week in the UK, and became determined to find new ways to bring in the punters. Pubs sign up for a small fee and locals get to use the service free, meaning no more queuing at the sorting office while someone searches for that priceless tat you bought off eBay.
So will it put the British boozer back at the heart of public life? Hard to tell while only 500 pubs are signed up, but you have to be behind any scheme that could see the end of the dreaded 'While you were out' cards. Simmy Richman
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