British screenwriter Jesse Armstrong has created a global hit with the drama Succession, about the fortunes of the super-rich Roy dynasty.
And it can be revealed that although he still lives modestly in the same South-East London terrace house which has been his home for the past 19 years, Armstrong has entered the upper one per cent himself . . . of writers, at least.
Accounts indicate that he’s coming close to being paid $1 million per episode of Succession, which puts him in the same stratosphere as Hollywood big-hitters such as West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin.
Armstrong’s company Jebentus Limited — which has only one employee — has £15.3 million in total assets and £9.9 million cash in the bank, a rise of more than £6 million on last year.
This would suggest Armstrong, 52, is being paid nearly £6.5 million per series of Succession, or £720,000 an episode, which equates to about $900,000.
Talent: British screenwriter Jesse Armstrong, pictured, has created a global hit with the drama Succession, about the fortunes of the super-rich Roy dynasty
Success: British actor Matthew Macfadyen has enjoyed a sensational rise in his profile thanks to his pitch-perfect performance as betrayed, plotting Tom Wambsgans, unhappily married to the boss’s daughter, Shiv
The trailers for season four of the show were released this week — revealing a glimpse of eldest son Connor Roy’s wedding, among other encounters — and it will air on March 27 on Sky Atlantic and NOW.
British actor Matthew Macfadyen has enjoyed a sensational rise in his profile thanks to his pitch-perfect performance as betrayed, plotting Tom Wambsgans, unhappily married to the boss’s daughter, Shiv.
In the trailer he is seen asking father-in-law Logan Roy whether the two of them would still be ‘good’ were he and Shiv to part.
The show, a devastating satire about American media and political power and family dynamics, is written in an office opposite Brixton Tube station with collaborators including Lucy Prebble, who created I Hate Suzie with Billie Piper.
As ‘showrunner’, Armstrong is involved in ‘every edit’ and every decision. But he says writing is his favourite part of the process. Before Succession, he helped create both Peep Show and The Thick Of It, then had the idea for a black comedy about a media family. The HBO network jumped at the idea and allowed him to run the show, which premiered in 2018, from London.
Armstrong lives with wife Millie, who works for the NHS, and their two children. Records suggest his home was purchased in June 2004 for £615,000 and has not been bought or sold since.
He grew up in Oswestry in Shropshire. His father was a teacher who later turned crime novelist and his mother worked in nursery schools.
D uring a degree in American Studies at Manchester University, he met writing partner Sam Bain. The two of them wrote Fresh Meat and Peep Show together.
Starting out, Armstrong supplemented his income by working as a painter and decorator, and also as an MP’s researcher.
Succession has won 13 Emmys. Last year, Matthew Macfadyen picked up a gong for his role, the show was named outstanding drama series and Armstrong got the prize for outstanding writing in a drama series . . . for the third year running.
Happy Valley Villain’s a West End Smash
House Full: James Norton’s star power has helped to sell out the entire 12-week run of A Little Life at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End
His performance as psychopath Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley is spellbinding to BBC viewers. And as we approach the finale of the show this Sunday, it can be revealed that James Norton’s star power has helped to sell out the entire 12-week run of A Little Life at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End. The show — a tough watch which clocks in at an epic three hours and 40 minutes — will run for up to eight performances a week from March to June at the Pinter, after previewing in Richmond. Both venues are sold out. Norton plays lawyer Jude in A Little Life, based on Hanya Yanagihara’s best-selling novel about four college classmates in New York and directed by Ivo van Hove.
The show originated in Amsterdam, in Dutch, and this will mark its English-language premiere.
Nearly as memorable as Joss Ackland’s divisive stab at a South African accent in Lethal Weapon 2 was the eye-shaped house on stilts — his lair — which gets destroyed during the 1989 movie.
The Garcia House in the Hollywood Hills above LA is now up for sale, having been lovingly refurbished, including its distinctive, 50ft wall of windows. Only three bedrooms though — and $16 million!
Dreamhouse: The Garcia House in the Hollywood Hills above LA is now up for sale, having been lovingly refurbished, including its distinctive, 50ft wall of windows
‘Are you chewing gum?’ Co-star gets a tongue lashing from J-Lo
Much-married Jennifer Lopez is the star of Shotgun Wedding — and proved something of a bossyboots when it came to co-star Josh Duhamel.
Hired to replace Armie Hammer after his ‘cannibal’ scandal (who was himself drafted in to replace Ryan Reynolds . . . keep up!), the actor says he found the love scenes with J Lo, 53, ‘terrifying’.
Actors: Much-married Jennifer Lopez is the star of Shotgun Wedding — and proved something of a bossyboots when it came to co-star Josh Duhamel
Bad Move: Duhamel decided to chew gum to keep his breath fresh. ‘Halfway through the scene she was like: ‘Are you chewing gum? Spit that gum out!’ he said
Duhamel, pictured right with J Lo in the movie, decided to chew gum to keep his breath fresh. Bad move. ‘Halfway through the scene she was like: ‘Are you chewing gum? Spit that gum out!’ he said.
Presumably her new husband Ben Affleck is better at toeing the line.
Bad Boy Will gets back in favour after Oscars slap
How long does a fall from grace last? A little under a year, if Will Smith’s quiet revival is anything to go by.
This week, Sony announced that Bad Boys 4 — the latest instalment in the popular films which team Smith with Martin Lawrence — was going into production after having been put on the back-burner following the notorious slap at the Oscars in March last year.
The third iteration, Bad Boys For Life, took a massive $426 million worldwide.
And now it can be revealed that Smith’s National Geographic and Disney series Pole To Pole, in which he will journey from the South to the North Pole, is back in production.
It, too, went into limbo last March after the actor struck comedian Chris Rock during the Academy Awards broadcast.
However, Smith quietly started filming in December in Antarctica and the show is expected to go out on Disney+ later this year.
He’s expected to spend nearly four months on the road making the programme, covering 26,000 miles. He will film in various extreme environments, including desert, jungle, mountain and swamp. Smith previously fronted One Strange Rock and Welcome To Earth for the streamer.
Another project, a Netflix feature film called Fast And Loose, has yet to be retrieved from the long grass. Smith’s drama, Emancipation, made for $120 million, took just $300,000 in its week at the cinema before moving to Apple TV+.
The star was banned from Academy events for a decade after slapping Rock, who had told a joke about Smith’s wife Jada.
Smith said later: ‘Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.’
The scandal completely overshadowed his Oscar win for his performance as Richard Williams in the film King Richard, about the rise of tennis players Venus and Serena Williams.
Well that’s nothing. I landed Prince Andrew!
Reel Stars: Jim Murray (left) and Robson Greene
They’re being hailed as ITV’s answer to Mortimer and Whitehouse, but Robson Green admits filming on his new series Robson And Jim’s Fly Fishing Adventure took a decidedly strange turn . . . involving the Queen and Prince Andrew.
‘Jim Murray, with whom I make the show, got an email asking him to put himself on film for the role of Prince Andrew in The Crown — while we were fishing in the River Dee in Scotland,’ Robson recalled. ‘He got out of the river, shaved off his beard, got me to read the role of the Queen and we shot the scene.
‘I’m not sure how I did, but Jim was brilliant as Andrew and, unsurprisingly, landed the role — as well as quite a few fish when he got back in the river!’
Robson And Jim’s Fly Fishing Adventure debuts on ITV1 in April.
Audiences have found the ‘crater scene’ in All Quiet On The Western Front gruelling — and director Ed Berger reveals that it reduced some of the crew to tears, too.
Berger said that his British cinematographer wept during the four days it took to film the scene, in which Paul Baumer (Felix Kammerer) encounters a wounded French soldier during trench warfare in World War I.
‘I started hearing a noise,’ Berger said. ‘Eventually, I realised that Danny, my cinematographer, was crying. He had been brought up by his grandfather, who himself grew up during World War II, hating the Germans. But somehow, watching this, Danny had a powerful realisation that we are all the same.’
Sex Pistols: Still shooting from the lip after all these years
Violence and strife continue to whirl around the Sex Pistols, some 45 years after they split up acrimoniously.
Bassist Glen Matlock says he was utterly furious with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle after seeing his version of events in the TV series Pistol last year — and swears he wanted to hit him after seeing the show.
Matlock, 66, had collaborated with Boyle and his team on Pistol, on the understanding that ‘they told the true story’. He went to a special screening of the six-part Disney series at the Covent Garden Hotel after missing the premiere because he was playing with Blondie.
Music: Violence and strife continue to whirl around the Sex Pistols, some 45 years after they split up acrimoniously. Pictured: The band performing during their first American concert in Atlanta
‘Danny Boyle was there at the beginning, in the hotel, then he conveniently shot off before the end. At the time, I thought: he probably doesn’t want to sit through it again. But then as I watched it, I thought: ‘No wonder he bloody left, because I would have landed him one.’ I even left without seeing one of the episodes myself, because I’d had enough.’
Subsequently the two men came face to face at an event in LA. Matlock said: ‘I called him a c*** to his face. He had a copy of my book and chose to ignore it, and portray it that I was kicked out of the band because of manager Malcolm McLaren’s publicity stunt, saying it was because I liked The Beatles.
‘I took it up with his management and Steve Jones, whose book about his time as the Pistols’ guitarist the series was based on. But it appears Steve Jones has also got a shocking memory.
‘They said several versions of that scene were shot but then Danny Boyle thought it made a better story to show that they kicked me out the band.’
Boyle was approached for comment but declined to respond. Matlock has always maintained he quit the group because he could not get on with singer John Lydon.