Men in tights: movie debut for Fathers 4 Justice

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The Independent Online

A fortnight after they decided to hang up their Batman outfits and call it a day, the "heroes" of direct-action group Fathers 4 Justice are to be immortalised in F4J: the movie.

The group's founder, Matt O'Connor, has sold rights to his organisation's story to Harbour Pictures, the British firm that made Calendar Girls.

At present, a cast and screenplay are in the middle of being assembled. Danny DeVito, left, is tipped to play Jason Hatch, right, the protester who scaled Buckingham Palace. The script is being written by Danny Brocklehurst, one of the creators of Shameless.

"The most important thing is for us to get the story right. It's about serious issues but hopefully, like in Calendar Girls, there'll be moments of comedy too," says Suzanne Mackie, a producer on the project.

"That said, we're not going to shy away from the very complicated problems created when relationships break down. We intend to make a film that will strike a chord around the world on every level."

The project is scheduled to commence filming in early 2007. Although it is expected to take an unbiased approach to F4J's occasionally divisive campaigns, prominent members gave it a cautious welcome yesterday.

Hatch is particularly excited. "I suppose it was always going to come, and there was always going to be someone playing me, because I was the face of Fathers 4 Justice," he said.

"I'd have liked to be played by Brad Pitt, but I suppose Danny DeVito will do."

* Odd to hear of Rachel Weisz's nomination for the "Best Supporting Actress" prize at this year's Oscars.

A growing number of critics believe the British star, right, shouldn't even be considered for the gong, since she is, in fact, the leading lady in The Constant Gardener, which co-stars Ralph Fiennes.

"It's a total swizz," says one. "Focus Features, who made the film, obviously reckon she's got no chance in the best actress category, so have been lobbying for best supporting actress.

"It's your typical, cynical marketing stunt by a major studio. And the annoying thing is that, so far, everyone's been taken in."

Focus Features certainly isn't backing down. "Although Rachel is indeed our leading lady, she dies halfway through the film," they say.

"Because she only ends up in half of it, there's a strong argument that she's in fact got a supporting role."

* David Cameron intends to underline his green credentials by turning the Tory Party "carbon neutral".

Other high-living members of the Notting Hill set are anxious to do their bit for the environment, too.

Last night, Marco Pierre White held a bash to launch a range of "carbon neutral" nightclubs in west London.

"We've worked out that each clubber produces 58p's worth of carbon per night, through drinks, smoke, sweat and taxis," says the organiser, TLC.

"We hold several events every week. From now on, for each person that attends them, we'll put 58p into planting a sustainable forest near Zac Goldsmith's place in Devon."

Who said green wasn't grand?

* Most of us would consider it a great honour to be acclaimed as a creative influence on the genius that is Ben Elton.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, left, isn't so sure, though. He's been kicking up a fuss over the Mail on Sunday's coverage of Elton's current tour.

At issue: a recent review that claimed the comedian "sold out by collaborating with Andrew Lloyd Webber on musicals such as We Will Rock You and Tonight's The Night."

On Monday, Lloyd Webber's office informed the paper's legal team that he'd actually done no such thing.

"We were told, in no uncertain terms, that this was a very serious mistake, and shouldn't be repeated," I'm told. "Lloyd Webber and Elton only collaborated once, on a musical called The Beautiful Game. A correction and legal warning have gone on file."

Thankfully, Lloyd Webber's staff are unlikely to take further action. "Obviously the piece did have a major factual inaccuracy, but I don't think we wish to comment further," they say.

At last, Sir Menzies Campbell has managed to jollify the Liberal Democrat leadership contest with a decent howler.

Yesterday, he addressed students at the London School of Economics about the need to recruit female and ethnic-minority MPs.

All went swimmingly, until Sir Ming got up to leave, declaring: "I'm about to have my picture taken with a hundred women."

On his way out, he stepped across some prayer mats, left by a group of Muslim students who had previously used the room.

"It was a complete accident, but very embarrassing, because Muslims treat prayer mats as sacred objects," I'm told.

"You should certainly never, ever step on them like that. Ming's meant to be a statesman; but in some parts of the world, he'd have been lucky to get out alive."

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