Hollywood star Alan Rickman will play Steven Spurrier in a rival to the forthcoming film of the Paris tasting, decanter.com can reveal.
The actor – renowned for his portrayals of charming though sinister Englishmen – plays Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. He became an international star with his role as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
But Rickman is taking part in a film called Bottle Shock, which also stars Danny DeVito, and is a bitter rival to the Judgment of Paris, the official movie of the legendary 1976 tasting.
So incensed are producers of Judgment of Paris that they are considering suing their competitors, who they consider are mounting unfair competition.
Producers Elizabeth Fowler and Clark Peterson of Clear Pictures Entertainment own the life rights to Spurrier and Patricia Gallagher (his business partner in Paris in the 70s), and rights to George M Taber’s book The Judgment of Paris, the official story of the 1976 Paris Tasting.
Fowler told decanter.com they are consulting their lawyers ‘regarding filing a lawsuit against the production of Bottle Shock.’
Their film is scripted by Robert Kamen – whose credits include the Fifth Element and Lethal Weapon. Bottle Shock has been commissioned by Jim and Bo Barrett of Napa property Chateau Montelena.
Fowler and her colleagues consider Bottle Shock has at best a cavalier attitude to history. The script allegedly makes no mention of Warren Winiarski, whose 1973 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon came out top in the legendary 1976 tasting.
Meanwhile, Clear Pictures have mooted several different stars for the part of Spurrier, including Hugh Grant and Jude Law.
Other actors have been suggested for key supporting roles, including George Clooney for Winiarski. Producers were also looking to net Keanu Reeves to play Napa winemaker Mike Grgich of Grgich Hills.
Rickman himself is an Italian wine fan – Spurrier and he have met before, having stayed at Montalcino property Castello di Argiano at the same time.
Spurrier said Rickman called him to tell him he would be playing him in Bottle Shock.
‘Knowing that the script described me as “an impossibly effete young Englishman”, I wished him the best of luck,’ he said.
Written by Adam Lechmere