HOLLYWOOD – Tommy Lee Jones to write, direct and star in Are You Being Served?

Veteran actor and No Country for Old Men star Tommy Lee Jones will finally bring his dream project to the screen next year, a Hollywood remake of BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? 

Based on the Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft Seventies series, Tommy Lee Jones’ new film is set in the fictional Los Angeles department store of Grace Brothers. Here the flirty staff have to deal with a variety of eccentric customers. Popping by the Studio Exec bungalow, Jones explained his vision:

I have always been a fan of the original British series. The elaborate double entendres and the farcical situations and in particular Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy.

And you are acting in the film as well? 

I myself shall play the role of Captain Peacock and Michael Shannon has kindly agreed to show his face as Mr. Humphries. Cameron Diaz wanted to play Mrs. Slocombe but I said no, because she is not in my honest opinion what I’d call a ‘good actress’.  Emma Thompson will handle the pussy jokes, if’n we can sober her up in time. Ha ha. That was a joke.

How do you respond to critics who say you can’t play comedy?

I ask them if they have had the opportunity to view my hilarious mugging in Natural Born Killers, or my Two Face in the much underrated Batman film, I forget which one… but it was comedy genius.

Mila Kunis will play Shirley Brahms and Jack Black will play Cuthbert Rumbold. Bradley Cooper will continue his collaboration with Jones, playing the womanizing salesman Dick Lucas.

Are You Being Served? comes out in 2022.


HOLLYWOOD –  Michael Shannon joins Tommy Lee Jones’ Are You Being Served?

The major Motion Picture adaptation of the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? is going ahead with the release of the first character posters. The first features a typically intense Michael Shannon as Mr. Humphries. The actor has carved a career of intense performances.

‘I’ve studied Inman,’ said the Take Shelter star. ‘I’ve studied him every day for seven hours a day for fourteen years. And remember this was before Tommy told me that there was even a chance of there being a film. I did it because I AM MR. HUMPHRIES. SO GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE!’

Tommy Lee Jones will play Captain Peacock and Oprah Winfrey will be Mrs. Slocombe. The project has taken over ten years to come to fruition. The British sitcom from the 1970s gained a cult following in the United States after it was shown on cable throughout the 80s.

‘For many of us young guys, Are You Being Served? was like a Baptism of FIRE!’ says Shannon. ‘We didn’t just watch it – although obviously we did that too – we studied it. I’ll never forget when I first met Al Pacino and all we talked about was Are You Being Served? Man, those were the days!’

Are You Being Served? comes out in 2022. 


99 HOMES – REVIEW: Spider-Man loses his home in Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes and finds out that life isn’t so Amazing.

Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), an ordinary working stiff, lives with his son (Noah Lomax) and his mother (Laura Dern) in their small suburban home. Behind on the mortgage payments, the bank foreclose and the family are evicted from their home and left on the sidewalk. Rick Carver (a towering performance from the ever-watchable Michael Shannon), a property speculator, arrives on his doorstep with the local sheriffs to execute the eviction. The scene is played out in full, and the frustration, anger, humiliation and fear is tangible as an indifferent authority crushes people’s lives with the banality of a well-practiced routine. Without work and holed up in a motel, Nash goes looking for Carver’s crew to reclaim some stolen tools, but Carver offers him a job instead. Nash finds himself in a devil’s dilemma: can he get his own house back by helping Carver kick other people out of theirs?

Bahrani has a record of filming original stories rooted in a criminally ignored social reality. The Zac Efron melodrama At Any Price used the plight of farmers being bullied by huge agro-business as its backdrop. Here however the blend of drama and context is seamless and the acting is exceptional. Shannon with his e-cigarette glowing is Mephistopheles with a mobile phone and Garfield gives a mature and unsentimental performance as a honest young man who is sorely tempted to put aside human empathy in order to achieve his goal. Bahrani is skillful in keeping everything in balance and provides us with the kind of angry and much needed drama about the human cost behind the headlines of economic meltdown.

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HOLLYWOOD – Michael Shannon’s Comedy Punch – which was initially part of Tommy Lee Jones’ Laugh In  (for more on that CLICK HERE) – has now been slated for its own slot in the Fall season.

The show which involves Michael Shannon punching unsuspecting members of the public in the back of the head, the face or the kidneys to hilarious results was originally a five minute slot, but its success has been such that HBO have booked a fifteen part season with a two hour special to get the ball rolling. We spoke EXCLUSIVELY to Michael Shannon.

Mr Shannon, sir, is this a chance to show off your diverse talents?

I’m always the psychopath, or the lunatic. The homicidal killer. Something like that. But I have a lot more to offer on the comedy and light entertainment side of the business. People are surprised they say, ‘You don’t know comedy! You don’t know what’s funny!’ But I do.

For example?

Like when I punch people and they fall down, that’s funny. When they bleed and they look scared and you can see in their eyes, they think they’re going to die, that’s funny. And when they cower and hold their hands up and beg for you to not punch them again, and they’re like animals who, if you kill their souls, will become your slaves in heaven, that’s, you know, funny.

Will the format be the same?

Yeah, pretty much. I try something different now and then, like kicking someone’s legs out from under them, but I usually go back to punching them. Oh, and we’re going to have celebrity guests. 

Will they be punching people too?

No I’ll punch them. 

Who like?

Woody Allen, Eli Wallach, Max Von Sydow, the chick from Amour.

Emmanuelle Riva?

Yeah that’s her.

But these are all quite elderly people.


Well, won’t punching them be risky. They could die. 

Yeah. Ha ha. I know. The color goes out of their faces. Ha ha. And they sort of wheeze out that last breath like letting off a sparrow into eternity. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. 

Michael Shannon’s Comedy Punch will air in the Fall of this year.


HOLLYWOOD – Veteran actor and famous curmudgeon Tommy Lee Jones will star in, write and produce a series of thirty minute comedy programmes for HBO to be screened this September: Tommy Lee Jones’ Laugh In.

‘I want to bring a little sunshine into people’s lives,’ said the In the Valley of Elah star. ‘There’ll be me and a bunch of old buddies and we’re gonna horse around and crack wise. I suppose it’ll be funny. If not, what the heck! We’re gonna die eventually. Me sooner than you like as not.’

The No Country for Old Men star continued:

Michael Shannon’s comedy punch

People think I’m ornery. But I really am not. I just have the kind of face, when it relaxes, it looks melancholy. I have a real talent for comedy. If you watch Men in Black … actually that isn’t a great example. Well, look, once I was over at my mother’s house, this was 1978. And the whole family were sitting out on the porch passing the time in stoic – some might say hostility laced – silence when suddenly a little kitten was crossing the road just as the milk truck barrelled round the corner. It ran over the kitten, squashing it flat. ‘That’s Mrs Heels cat,’ says I. ‘I’ll take it over,’ says my brother. ‘If she ain’t in,’ says I. ‘You can just put her through the mail slot.’ The hollering and whooping could be heard way over in the next county.

Tommy Lee Jones will be joined by hapless comedy sidekick Michael ‘Laugh or I’ll Cave Your Face In’ Shannon – ‘he’s always getting into oafish scrapes’ – and Emily Watson from Breaking the Waves, who will have her own section entitled The Relentless Brutality of Life: ‘A series of monologues about Dachau and the like.’

Tommy Lee Jones’ Laugh In screens on the 21st of September, 2013. 


BOARDWALK EMPIRE: REVIEW – I started watching HBO‘s Boardwalk Empire when it premièred and I’m now struggling to finish the 3rd season. Everything boded well. Martin Scorsese and Terrence Winter, Tim Van Patten, a great cast: Michaels Pitt, Shannon and Kenneth Williams, Stephen Graham, Steve Buscemi and Kelly Macdonald. Sumptuous sets, high production values, the wonderful prohibition period of Once Upon a Time in America, whisky colored interiors and the manic rhythms of jazz. I started fast forwarding the show halfway through the second season.

What was wrong with it? Well, first off when a show boasts about how much it cost to reconstruct something you can bet that the show runners will try to get their money’s worth out of the furniture. I got bored of the magnificent establishing shots which never ever looked like a real place any more than Rome ever looked like Rome. Then there was the central casting of a brilliant bit player. Buscemi is a lot of things, but a romantic lead? No. He has no heft, no weight and no charisma. His bow-legged trot away from camera during the title sequence sets the tone. He looks like a someone you could knock over with a feather.

All the hallmarks of HBO productions now look like hallmarks: the sexposition, the OTT violence, the glossy production values that now get in front of the story. I began fast forwarding Kelly Macdonald’s Margaret Shroeder. Hard to think of a less interesting character lumbered with butt-aching story lines, none of which seem attached to the character as such. From tea-totalling to women’s health issues via a slap of catholic hypocrisy and making jollies with an ex-IRA terrorist, her hair sometimes changes but her pursed lips expression and her obnoxious children remain resistant to any temptation to like her.

But it wasn’t only her. The writers had effectively painted Michael Shannon’s glowering G-Man into one of the most uninteresting corners imaginable. When he turns up at the beginning of season 3 selling irons, you know it won’t be long before someone ends up wearing one as a facial piercing. Everything is telegraphed from a distance, which is at least consistent with the period. The villain obviously villainous; the innocent victims lined up to be despatched. This is the show that makes Al Capone a dull little man.

Anyway, it’s almost over and I shall stop occasionally to find out what happens. Hopefully, I won’t have to see many more naked beauties draped over Mr. Buscemi’s thankfully dressed form. And if you think I’ve been unkind, I’d like to point out, I’ve not used the word Sopranos once. Well, twice.    


Nice weather for it

HOLLYWOOD – To celebrate the imminent end of days as predicted by idiots Studio Exec offers this definitive (I suppose) guide to end of world movies. Enjoy it while it lasts.

5. I am Legend

Billiam Smith furrows his brow and looks all serious because he’s surviving in New York and having to fight horribly unrealistic CGI vampire zombie stuff because brain box Nanny McPhee tried to cure cancer and accidentally (oops) destroyed the world’s population. Smith is having the time of his life tooling around New York in a sports car (no traffic), hunting gazelles, playing golf off of aircraft carriers and claiming Legend: The Greatest Hits is the best Bob Marley album ever. Wife and sprog happily dead, Smithster only gets truly miffed when his dog is rather unfairly bitten and he has to do as Hitler did and kill his own dog. See also A Boy and his Dog, Last Man on Earth and Omega Man.

4.  Armageddon

Who knows? This film had Ben Affleck in it and was directed by Michael Bay, which is Latin for don’t go and see this fucking movie. Arwen turns up. That’s all I know.

3. The Road

Aragorn and the boy with the vampire friend wander around Canada and the outskirts of Detroit while trees fall down around them. There are cannibals about as well, but everything turns out okay when Mike from Neighbors turns up with his Ikea family and (good news) he’s brought a dog. This film is exactly 1 minute 45 seconds too long.

2. Take Shelter

Under rated work of immense interest. Michael Shannon plays a troubled father who is plagued by visions of the end of the world. Is he struggling with a descent into delusion, or is he a prophet foreseeing a genuine apocalypse. Films about the end of the world do seem to have trouble ending, other than that, recommended.

1. Dr Strangelove

Masterpiece of comic darkness and arguably Kubrick’s best film. Peter Sellers is at his best playing the American president (with a slight Gene Wilder accent though sans hair), a British RAF officer and the titular ex-Nazi scientist. The world not only ends but is utterly deserving of it, given the madness and venality of all involved. You’ll laugh but by God it’ll hurt.