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After a few years of seeing British actors go to America and play American super-heroes (and presidents), a form of switcharound has begun, in which a hugely distinguished—and total Anglophile—American actor is playing a very real British hero.
House of Cards star Kevin Spacey has signed up to play Winston Churchill in a dramatic retelling of his time leading Britain during (and after) the Second World War.
Captain of the Gate is written by Ben Kaplan (who also wrote the History Channel’s recent Ronald Reagan biopic) and will tell the story of Churchill’s decision to denounce the policy of the British government in attempting to appease Hitler’s Germany, and his subsequent rise to the office of prime minister, leading the country from 1940 and the dark days of the blitz through to the end of the war in 1945.
Almost as soon as the war was over, Churchill lost a general election to Clement Atlee’s Labour party, whose efforts in rebuilding the country gave Britain the National Health Service, among other things. He returned to power in 1951 for four years, retiring in 1955.
He also, as Doctor Who fans will know, and this 1942 clip illustrates, had a sharp wit, and a particularly idiosyncratic style of oratory:
Lots of stuff for a decent actor to get their teeth into, in other words.
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See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic