British actor Sir David Jason has paid tribute to his longtime co-star Roger Lloyd-Pack, who died on Wednesday (15Jan14). The 69-year-old actor lost his battle with pancreatic cancer "at home surrounded by his family", according to his agent.
Lloyd-Pack was best known for his long-running stint on hit British sitcom Only Fools And Horses, playing hapless road sweeper Trigger alongside Jason.
The veteran actor has now spoken out after hearing of Lloyd-Pack's death, saying, "I was very saddened to hear of Roger's passing. He was a very quiet, kind and unassuming actor who was a pleasure to work with.
"Although he played the simple soul of Trigger in Only Fools And Horses, he was a very intelligent man and a very fine actor capable of many roles. I shall remember him with fondness and for all the good times we had together."
John Challis, who also starred in the hit series, adds, "I spoke to Roger two days ago. It is very sad and very distressing.
"My thoughts are with his family. He was a remarkable man and he'll be missed. Roger is irreplaceable. It's a very sorry day."
Other stars who have offered tributes include actress Hayley Atwell, funnyman James Corden, and Stephen Fry, who reminisced about Lloyd-Pack in a post on Twitter.com, writing, "Just awoken to terribly sad news that Roger Lloyd-Pack has died. We loved playing with him at the Globe & the Apollo (London theatres). Farewell, old friend."
Lloyd-pack was born into an acting family, with his father Charles Lloyd-Pack a regular in the Hammer Horror movies.
He started his career in The Avengers in 1965 and appeared in a string of stage and TV productions until becoming a household name in his native Britain when Only Fools And Horses debuted in 1981.
He also starred opposite funnywoman Dawn French in another popular comedy show, The Vicar Of Dibley, from 1994 to 2007, but was best known to international audiences as Barty Crouch, Sr. in the Harry Potter film series.
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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With the huge Broadway success of Mel Brooks' The Producers, it looks like you can bring the movies to the stage.
On Monday, Brooks' musical stage adaptation of his classic movie received 15 Tony nominations, including nods for best musical, for stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and for Brooks for best book and score. Brooks based the show on his 1968 film, which starred Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. A down-on-his-luck Broadway show producer and his accountant decide to produce the worst show ever, after raising thousands of dollars in investments, and watch the money roll in when the show flops miserably. Of course, the fictional musical, Springtime for Hitler, becomes a smash success, thereby ruining them both. Broderick's character is much different from Wilder's original character, but the film poses a perfect scenario for a real-life Broadway musical.
The Americanized stage adaptation of the 1997 English hit The Full Monty also got a nomination for best musical. Instead of blue-collar workers from Northern England, the musical features blue-collar workers from Buffalo, N.Y., who not only strip but must sing for their suppers, bringing a whole new meaning to stage presence.
Even though the book was first produced as a Broadway play in the 1960s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is best known for its Academy-Award winning film starring Jack Nicholson. This year saw a critically acclaimed revival of the play, staged by the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Co. and starring Gary Sinise as McMurphy, the unconventional convict who turns a mental ward upside-down. The play and Sinise each received a Tony nomination. [for complete list of nominations, go to http://www.broadway.com]
Is this a trend for future shows?
If it's a trend, then it's a "fake trend," said Jed Bernstein, president of the League of American Theatres and Producers.
The success of a show is based on a good story and compelling characters, regardless of its source, he said.
"Whether the material is original or from a movie or from a comic book, if it's a great story, people will gravitate towards it," he said.
Here's a look at some other movies turned into or likely to become stage productions:
That Thing You Do!: Tom Hanks' 1996 directed and scripted film is now being considered for a Broadway musical, with Hanks' production company, Playtone, putting the deal together. They are looking for a top-notch musical director, with Des McAnuff (The Who's Tommy) on the list. The stage production would follow the quick rise and fall of the Wonders, a fictional mop-top 1960s band from Erie, Pa., whose swinging title song (written by Adam Schlesinger) propels them to the top of the pop charts. The idea to turn the film into a stage musical came from the numerous requests to the production company by local high schools eager to mount their own productions.
The Witches of Eastwick: The musical version of the 1987 film, based on the novel by John Updike, is currently playing to rave reviews in London. Starring Lucie Arnaz as Alexandra (played by Cher in the film), the story remains pretty much the same. In the tiny New England town of Eastwick, R.I., three modern-day witches innocently plot to bring the perfect man to them, over several weak martinis and peanut butter brownies. But when their longings are made flesh in the arrival of one Darryl Van Horne, all hell breaks loose.
Saturday Night Fever: Based on the smash 1977 film, the musical seemed to be a natural fit for the stage, with the cool 1970s tunes-and the dancing. The story was the same: Tony Marino dreams of making it big in the world of dancing, but at the same time he must deal with two women in his life--one who wants him and one he wants. The stage musical wasn't able to capture the hearts of theatergoers quite the same way as the film did for its audience. The musical opened on Broadway in 1999 and closed quickly. There also was a British tour that closed in February 2000.
Sunset Blvd.: Andrew Lloyd Webber's staged musical is based on the Academy-Award winning 1950 film starring the incomparable Gloria Swanson and William Holden. The musical opened in London in 1993 and went to Broadway quickly after, starring the larger-than-life Glenn Close. Once again, the stage production did not live up to its hype and couldn't capture the magic of Billy Wilder's exquisite film. Webber also collaborated with Jim Steinman on a musical adaptation of the 1961 film Whistle Down the Wind, based on the Mary Hayley Bell novel. It closed in January after running for 2 ½ years in London, but it has failed to make it to Broadway.
Also, there have been a few other flops, such as the stage production of Big, based on the hit 1988 Tom Hanks film, which opened on Broadway in April 1996 and closed in October 1996. Footloose, based on the just-as-silly 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, also flopped on Broadway but continues to tour nationally.
The Tony Awards will air June 3 on PBS and CBS.