In America: Silver screen beckons for Prezza and 'Dustbingate'

Andrew Buncombe@AndrewBuncombe
Monday 31 January 2005 01:00

Could Prezza be heading for Hollywood? Such a possibility emerges with the news that an independent film-maker might make a movie of the book Dustbingate.

Could Prezza be heading for Hollywood? Such a possibility emerges with the news that an independent film-maker might make a movie of the book Dustbingate.

The book tells the true-ish story of five factory workers from the Deputy PM's home city of Hull who tried to dig up dirt on Two Jags and ended up themselves being the centre of a brief media frenzy.

At some point, someone stole Mr Prescott's dustbin and hence the story - and subsequent questions about a property deal involving his son - were dubbed Dustbingate.

It was also the title for a book about the affair, penned by Ian Newton, one of the workers, who believes his story could be the Full Monty of journalism.

Mr Newton says he has sold a one-year option to Los Angeles film-maker Joe Wiener, who confirmed: "I'm excited to be involved."

Two questions remain. Will the government try to stop it An earlier project involving the Film Council was dropped after the council, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, failed to come up with the money.

Secondly who will star as Prezza? After the untimely death of Marlon Brando, there are few remaining dramatists with the sufficient stature to play Mr Prescott.

* THE TEEN moguls everyone loves to hate are going to be busier than ever.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, have taken full control of their billion-dollar media empire. Several years ahead of schedule, the 18-year-old twins have bought out the lawyer who helped them make it big. Robert Thorne said the women approached him to buy his "very substantial minority stake" in their privately held Dualstar company.

I didn't want to stand in their way provided I was taken care of, as I was handsomely," he said.

Dualstar, which employs about 40 people in Los Angeles, with additional staffers in New York and London, targets young girls with home videos, CDs, books, apparel, fragrances and Barbie dolls all bearing the twins' wholesome image. Fortune magazine last year estimated they were worth $137m (£72m) each.

* LAST WEEK I saw Senator Ted Kennedy deliver a foreign policy address in Washington in which he essentially called for US and British troops to get out of Iraq. He said: "The US military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution."

It was good, common-sense stuff. But standing listening one could not help but wonder why Mr Kennedy, had not encouraged his friend John Kerry to take a similar stance when he was running for president rather than engaging in a bout of one-upmanship with Mr Bush to see who could be the "toughest" on Iraq. Has there, one wonders, been a parting of the ways between the two members for Massachusetts?

* WAS THE Foreign Secretary Jack Straw - fresh from the Far East - particularly tired last week when he arrived in Washington to meet the new Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice?

Pandora only asks because when it came to his briefing of British newspaper reporters after his two-hour lunch meeting, Mr Straw - usually bright and breezy and handshakes-all-round - was decidedly grumpy. Perhaps Mr Straw has a problem with the print media.

The proof of this? While the swanky, well-dressed TV reporters were treated to coffee and biscuits during their briefings with Mr Straw, such refreshments were hurriedly whisked away when the inky-fingered hacks arrived on the scene.

* Only two US states allow cockfighting but in Oklahoma, one of the places it was recently banned, a local politician is trying to achieve its comeback with a plan he believes will satisfy the animal rights campaigners.

Rather than having razors strapped to the heels, Senator Frank Shurden wants the roosters to wear boxing gloves and jackets. It's even been suggested they could wear electronic sensors as worn by fencers to determine when there is a good hit.

The senator asked: "Who's going to object to chickens fighting like humans do?"

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