Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Who would you cast in the planned new Game, Set and Match triple trilogy?

Who will replace this man?
Something for you to think about over Christmas, everyone...

Earlier this year I revealed that Len had signed a development deal with Clerkenwell Films to create an 18-part TV series based on all nine books in the 'Samson series' of novels by Len Deighton, which follow the fortunes of desk-bound spy Bernard Samson and his search to uncover the deeper truth about his wife's staged defection to East Germany in the early 1980s.

I've started re-reading the last three novels again and over the Christmas break I thought I'd break out the (bootleg) DVD of the original Granada TV adaption from 1988 of the original Game, Set and Match, of which Len's admitted he wasn't satisfied about some of the casting, hence it's non-repeating on TV. This got me thinking - who are the contemporay actors and actresses who'd make the best choices for the main roles. And I'd like blog readers to share their views too. Who knows? Clerkenwell's producers might read the post....

Primary roles in all nine 'Game, Set & Match' novels
  • Bernard Samson
  • Fiona Samson
  • Bret Renselaer
  • Werner Volkmann
  • Zena Volkmann
  • Dicky Cruyer
  • Sir Henry Clevemore
  • Silas Gaunt
  • Erich Stinnes
  • Pavel Moskvin
  • George Kosinski
  • Tessa Kosinski
  • Lisl Hennig
My initial suggestions for actors to play these roles
  • Bernard Samson - Damian Lewis or David Morrisey
  • Fiona Samson - Gillian Anderson or Keeley Hawkes
  • Bret Renselaer - Ted Danson
  • Werner Volkmann - Sebastian Koch
  • Zena Volkman - Franka Potente
  • Dicky Cruyer - Dominic West
  • Sir Henry Clevemore - Tom Wilkinson
  • Silas Gaunt - Michael Gambon
  • Erich Stinnes - Daniel Bruhl
  • Pavel Moskvin - Philip Glenister or Jurgen Prochnow
  • George Kosinski - Ray Winstone or Mark Strong
  • Tessa Kosinski - Lena Headey or Sarah Alexander
  • Lisl Hennig - Marita Breur
Copy the top list of bullet points, and paste them in your comments below with your suggestion. Be creative!!

Seasons greetings to all blog readers

With a week to go until Christmas 2013, I thought it an appropriate time to simply wish all the readers of this little blog "Seasons Greetings" and to thank them for taking the time to read my blog and, in increasing numbers, adding comments on posts. I aim to keep blogging in 2014 and sharing news and information on Len, his works, the spy fiction genre and the Cold War era.

I'll leave you with the first line of London Match:
'Cheer up, Werner. It will soon be Christmas.'

Friday, 13 December 2013

Recalling the Great War .... Len Deighton at the Imperial War Museum

Len at the Imperial War Museum
Following my last post, I'm very pleased to say that Len's friend and biographer, Edward Milward-Oliver - author of the excellent Len Deighton Companion and the Annotated Bibliography - has kindly prepared a short piece for the Deighton Dossier website and blog on the recent interview he did with Len for BBC South East, to talk with Len about his experiences on producing Oh! What a Lovely War.

Read more below:

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Lunch with Len .... and the Beatles, Bertrand Russell and Gene Kelly

Location for our lunch meeting
This Thursday I was able to catch up with Len and his wife Ysabele at the Gilbert Scott restaurant at St Pancras, during one of their infrequent trips to the UK. Changes in their schedule meant that our conversation was shorter than I'd envisaged, but nevertheless the chat confirmed Len's on good form in his eighty-fifth year and never short of an anecdote or two!

The title refers to some of the anecdotes in question. Len has such fascinating stories to fall back on over lunch, each of which demonstrates what a tremendously interesting life an internationally successful author and film-maker can have!

First up, we talked generally about upcoming projects which have been mentioned on this blog before. The proposed Bomber film, which has been on the cards for nearly a decade since a rights agreement was made, is evidently no further forward than the last time I posted about it on this blog, which is disappointing as it is a novel which deserves to be made to provide a counterpoint to some of the other recent depictions of the bombing war in the Second World War. Similarly, nothing new as far as Len knew from Clerkenwell films in terms of the development of the 18-hour version of all nine Bernard Samson books, but then this was only agreed earlier on this year. No script yet or casting decisions have yet been made.

Our conversation covered a myriad of other stories from the 'sixties. The philosopher, Bertrand Russell, Len says, got in touch with him not for reasons philosophical but because someone had recommended Len as a person who knew the law (from his time working as a producer dealing with lawyers on film issues). Russell wanted to do a licensing deal for all his papers - Len set him up with his accountant to do the deal. Cue Len saying that when he met with Russell in Wales, Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh rang up for the great philosopher and socialist. Cue Russell telling Minh that he'd call him back later, rather than interrupt his conversation.

From that came a story about the Beatles and their plans in the sixties for an anti-war film, which he discussed with Paul McCartney at around the time he was planning Oh! What a Lovely War. Len indicated that he had imagined giving the Beatles parts in the film, with Gene Kelly directing, but in the end he wanted to put on film contemporary songs from 1914 rather than have a modern interpretation. It never came to fruition, sadly, but can you imagine ... Gene Kelly directing the Beatles!!

We also talked about Only When I Larf, the adaptation of Len's film which was his first foray into film producing, and the the character actors up for the film who didn't make it: James Mason and David Niven were both up for the Silas character, for example, but Richard Attenborough had ways of making sure he and not others go the part!

In retirement Len's still a man of words, spoken if not written, and a thoroughly nice lunch companion who's appreciative of the continued interest in his work shown by readers around the world. As a result, Len's agreed to answer some other readers questions in a further Q&A, similar in format to others on the Deighton Dossier blog above, so keep visiting this site to keep an eye out for this.