He might be coming off one of the more unsatisfying films of his career, in the shape of “Tess of the D’Ubervilles” adaptation “Trishna” with Frieda Pinto and Riz Ahmed, but given his career so far, we’re always going to be keenly watching what Michael Winterbottom is up to. And that goes double for anything he’s working on with British comic/actor Steve Coogan, who he’s previously teamed with on “24 Hour Party People,” “Tristam Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story” and “The Trip.” And the good news is they’re on the verge of getting going on another collaboration, and a trio of actresses has just joined them.
Filming gets underway shortly on “The KIng of Soho” (formerly titled “Paul Raymond’s Wonderful World Of Erotica“) with Coogan playing Paul Raymond, the real-life pornographer, strip club owner and impresario who managed to accumulate a fortune of close to £650 million (or just over a billion dollars) after buying up property in the central London area of Soho. And Baz Bamigboye reports that Imogen Poots, Anna Friel and Tamsin Egerton have all come on board to play the women in Raymond’s life.
Friel, a British TV veteran best known in the U.S. for her turns in “Pushing Daisies,” “Land Of The Lost” and “Limitless,” will play Raymond’s wife Jean, while Poots, the fast-rising star of “Jane Eyre” and “Fright Night” has signed on to play his tragic daughter Debbie, who died of a heroin overdose in 1992. Egerton’s a less familliar face at this point, but she’s earning notice thanks to playing Guinevere on Starz‘s’ “Camelot,” as well as British pics “126.96.36.199,” “St. Trinian’s” and “Chalet Girl.” She’ll play Raymond’s long-time mistress Fiona Richmond.
They’re all likely to be good foils for Coogan, who should get a real showcase here. Producer Andrew Eaton told us last year that, “People seem to really respond to the idea of Coogan playing that character. He’s a combination of Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner, but he’s our own, this English guy. And he only died a couple of years ago, so his legend is sufficiently fresh. Soho in that period, the 60s and 70s, must have been an amazing place to be. There’s some great stuff we found, Raymond occasionally tried to make films, which he was in, they’re so wonderfully tacky, that great sort of 70s Kodak color, and the acting is terrible, it’s like soft porn. I think it’s something that Steve will do brilliantly.”
The script comes from “Nowhere Boy” writer Matt Greenhalgh, and filming gets underway in London in three weeks.