Bond girl Gemma Arterton was ‘excited’ but also ‘terrified’ when she was cast as Sixties icon Dusty Springfield in a film about the legendary pop singer’s colourful life.
Now, however, I can reveal that the film has been scrapped after the director, Phyllis Nagy, whose screenplay for Carol was nominated for an Oscar in 2016, pulled out of the project amid great mystery.
‘Phyllis is no longer developing the project,’ confirms a spokesman for Nagy, who was also due to write the screenplay.
It’s highly unusual for films to be cancelled once the casting details have been announced.
The producers, Number 9 Films, which also made Carol, the 2015 film starring Cate Blanchett, confirmed the name, plot and cast of the Springfield film back in 2018.
They said So Much Love would be set in 1968 when, at the peak of her popularity, the singer travelled to Tennessee to record the album Dusty in Memphis.
‘It will follow her as she navigates her way through the politics of the recording studio and the city, and will also explore her encounter with the music of Motown, her stand against apartheid policies during her aborted South African tour and her thorny brushes with men in the music industry,’ an official synopsis said.
Filming was due to take place in Britain and the US in 2019.
Bond girl Gemma Arterton (pictured) said she was ‘excited’ but also ‘terrified’ when she was cast as late 1960s icon Dusty Springfield in a film about the legendary pop singer’s colourful life
The producers, Number 9 Films, said in 2018 that So Much Love would be set in 1968 when, at the peak of her popularity, London-born Springfield travelled to Tennessee to record the album Dusty In Memphis. Pictured with Des O’Connor in 1970
Arterton, 36, who had worked with Number 9 on Byzantium and Their Finest, said: ‘I have been an admirer of Dusty Springfield since I was a teenager: her effortless husky voice, the way she conveyed emotion through music, how she helped bring Motown to the UK.
‘Dusty was ahead of her time in many ways and inspired so many future artists. She was generous, witty, mercurial, shy, extroverted and a true English eccentric. I simply cannot wait to play her.’
Nagy called the singer ‘an innovative, brilliant artist and a complex, contradictory woman’.
Born in Enfield, North London, in 1939, Springfield’s hits included I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself, The Look of Love and Son of a Preacher Man.
Her career was later blighted by alcoholism and self-harm but she made a comeback in collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys.
A Number 9 Films spokesman confirms: ‘Sadly, we just couldn’t get Dusty off the ground, despite huge efforts over a long period of time, which was very disappointing for us and Phyllis. We have no plans to continue with the film.’
Born in Enfield, North London, in 1939, Springfield’s hits included I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself, The Look of Love and Son of a Preacher Man. Pictured in 1971
Is there no end to Ozzy Osbourne’s talents? Don Was, producer to the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, recalls being tasked with squeezing a rap from the Black Sabbath wailer.
‘He didn’t know what rapping was,’ recalls Don. ‘He said, “There’s no melody? I don’t even have to hit the note? I just talk? That’s a piece of p***. I can do this”. ‘
Revealing night without Idris for Mrs Elba
Pick of the parties
THE OCCASION: GQ Men of the Year Awards after-party at The Pavilion in Knightsbridge.
FLYING SOLO: Idris Elba’s model wife, Sabrina, who wore a revealing £3,600 Gucci jumpsuit, tells me of the Luther star’s absense: ‘He’s filming in Sierra Leone. He’s always working and I’m always working, so sometimes it can be hard to see each other.’
WOMEN’S ROAR: Lionesses captain Leah Williamson says of her award: ‘I feel like an imposter.’ However, she dished out some advice to England’s men at the World Cup: ‘The boys should just enjoy it. As long as they know they’ve played their best, that’s all they should focus on.’
SELFIE-LESS BEHAVIOUR: Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield was playing camera-shy with fans, telling me: ‘I don’t want to do selfies because it really isn’t about me, but everyone else here tonight.’
Idris Elba’s model wife, Sabrina, (pictured) wore a revealing £3,600 Gucci jumpsuit to the GQ Men of the Year Awards after-party at The Pavilion in Knightsbridge
Lionesses captain Leah Williamson says of her award: ‘I feel like an imposter.’ Meanwhile, Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield was playing camera-shy with fans, telling me: ‘I don’t want to do selfies because it really isn’t about me, but everyone else here tonight’
Adam Kay, author of This Is Going To Hurt, has revealed the buyers of his London home had a nasty shock after he forgot to take his wedding cake, shaped like a life-sized skull, with him.
‘We just cling-filmed it and put it in the bit at the bottom of the fridge,’ says the former doctor.
‘We had an extremely worried phone call when they opened the otherwise empty fridge and noticed in the vegetable section there was what seemed to be a human skull wrapped up in cling film.’
Boris’s talk isn’t cheap
Matt Hancock may have been paid £400,000 to enter the jungle, but the I’m A Celebrity star has been given a lesson in how to make money by his former boss.
Boris Johnson has disclosed that he received more than £276,000 for his first job since he was forced out of No 10.
He was paid the vast sum by the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers for a speaking engagement in Colorado last month, according to the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
Boris Johnson has disclosed that he received more than £276,000 from the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers for a speaking engagement in Colorado last month
It involved just eight-and-a-half hours’ work — a rate of more than £32,000 an hour.
The MP didn’t even have to travel that far, as he was on holiday with his family in the Dominican Republic at the time. Parliament was not in recess.
Theresa May banked a more modest £109,000 for a talk at the Danish Bar and Law Society earlier this year, a job that involved five hours’ work.
Normal People’s Paul Mescal admits it’s daunting to step into the role of Stanley Kowalski, made famous by Marlon Brando, in the new production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida Theatre.
‘The anxiety is definitely attached to it being done so famously well, but I’m thinking that will go away,’ the Irish heartthrob says.
Mescal certainly has the physique to fill out Brando’s famous white T-shirt.
Normal People’s Paul Mescal (pictured) admits it’s daunting to step into the role of Stanley Kowalski, made famous by Marlon Brando, in the new production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida Theatre
Mendes: I’m to blame for bumping off Bond
Sir Sam Mendes admits he might be to blame for the decision to kill James Bond, even if he didn’t make No Time To Die.
‘You could say it was my fault because I killed M,’ the director says of his film Skyfall, in which Dame Judi Dench’s spy chief died.
‘That was the first moment in the series when an actual character acknowledged not only dying, but getting older in any way, rather than just being replaced by another actor.
‘[Bond] talked a lot about ageing in Skyfall, and M dying and the changing of the guard.’