Pandora: From Four Weddings to Litvinenko the film

Much moustache twitching over at the Russian embassy, where officials are bracing themselves for a revival in the intrigue surrounding the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

The mysterious poisoning of the former KGB spy, which he blamed on the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is about to be made into a film – and Mike Newell, director of Four Weddings and A Funeral, has been called in to write and direct it.

The project is to be based on The Terminal Spy, the book by Alan Cowell, The New York Times' London bureau chief. At one stage Johnny Depp was rumoured to be producing it, though his involvement appears to have fallen by the wayside after Warner Brothers bought the film's rights from his company, Infinitum Nihil.

Newell's film isn't, in fact, the only Litvinenko project in the pipelines. Another, based on the banned book he sought to publish with historian Yuri Felshtinsky, is said to be underway.

Whether or not any officials from Litvinenko's home country plan to attend either's premiere remains to be seen.

"It doesn't sound interesting to us," snapped a spokesperson for the embassy. "People make films about whatever they like. It's not something for us to worry about."

Winner ensures he gets his 10 per cent

Hats off to Michael Winner – who has not only managed to have his personal hairdresser and make-up artist hired for his new TV series Michael Winner's Dining Stars, but has also

wheedled a commission out of ITV for finding a sponsor. Winner tells us he approached his friends at the insurance company eSure about the matter. "When I asked for a 15 per cent commission ITV first of all refused," he jokes. "We had some talks and they finally agreed after I dropped the percentage, but not by much!"

Bennett's head gives the silent treatment

Surely not! Alan Bennett appears to be suffering from a very specific form of writer's block. The playwright claims that, despite his best efforts, he has been unable to write any further segments of the famous Talking Heads series which made him a household name.

"They were all voices in my head," he said of the star-studded programme to an audience at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. "Thora Hird, Maggie Smith and the rest. I wrote them very quickly but I seem to have run out of voices.

"I simply can't do it any more. Believe me I've tried. I simply can't. I wish I could."

Alas, so do we!

Mirror men out to wind up Cameron wind-up duty

Top-level investigations at the Daily Mirror. We're told the Labour-supporting red-top has taken to stationing a reporter outside David Cameron's Notting Hill home with the aim of getting his goat before he heads to work. "Every morning he comes out three times," we are told. "The first to collect his milk and papers, and the second to take his children to school. The third time he's heading to work and that's when the questioning starts, not that he ever answers them." No doubt Andy Coulson, Cameron's thrusting spinner, is thrilled.

Hoult's keeping it all under his hat

We very much hope that Nicholas Hoult hasn't taken our recent reference to his "hemp-hatted debut in About A Boy" too seriously. "I didn't realise this was an event where they were taking photos!" exclaimed the young actor on arriving at Monday's launch of Sony PlayStation's new game, Heavy Rain. "I've come with my big woolly hat on." Hoult has been gathering plaudits for his role in A Single Man, the debut film from fashion designer Tom Ford. Clearly Ford's own sartorial standards have yet to rub off.

pandora@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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 People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past