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Roger Friedman is reporting a rumour that the team remaking¬†Arthur are keen to bag Meryl Streep for a role. The part in question would be the do-over’s equivalent of the valet played by John Gielgud in the original and despite the sex change, they’d still be using the name Hobson for the character, at least per Friedman.

Russell Brand has been cast as the titular Arthur, and Borat and Bruno co-writer Peter Baynham is writing the script. I’m sure he’s come up with something far, far better than Steve Gordon’s original. I’ve got a lot of love for Baynham, Brand and Streep… will they appoint a director of comparable calibre? Here’s hoping.

Whispers on the grapevine suggest that Arthur is one of a couple of upcoming films that have prevented Brand taking a role in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film…. Just silly talk, I think. I think.

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The screenwriter for the Russell Brand remake of Arthur has been announced in Variety, and it’s Peter from Balham – sometime collaborator of Chris Morris, Sacha Baron Cohen and Lee and Herring. Peter Baynham isn’t exactly comedy royalty in the UK – more like a secret power behind the thrones – but is, not to put too fine a point on it, incredibly funny.

And now to change the subject rather drastically, I’m afraid. There are two jokes in the original Arthur, by my count: one is alcoholism, the other is the pronunciation of profanities in posh RP and despite them being repeated over and over and over for the full running time, neither of these ever threatens to be the mildest bit amusing. Watching stars Dudley Moore, John Gielgud and Liza Minelli (each of whom has done at least two other pieces of work I truly adore) flop around in Steve Gordon’s slow-draining cinematic sewage was painful enough that I’ve attacked the TV in a violent hurry to switch channels whenever I’ve bumped back into the movie by mistake.

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