The Deal (2003 film)

The Deal (2003 film)

] The project was believed to be "too cerebral" and attempts were made to persuade Morgan to develop a television series to replace "Cold Feet", another Granada production.] The prologue and climactic scene in the Granita restaurant was shot on location in the restaurant itself. Editing and post-production went on until September. Some historical events—such as the Sheffield Rally and footage of the 1997 general election—were too costly to refilm so archive footage was used instead.cite news|first= Tim|last= Adams|title= I want what he's having|url=|work= The Observer|publisher= Guardian News & Media Ltd.|date= 2003-09-14|accessdate= 2008-02-21] Adam Curtis assisted in the editing of the archive footage.


After John Yorke recommissioned the film for Channel 4, it was scheduled as part of a "Tony Blair season". "The Deal" aired on 28 September 2003, the day before the Labour Party Conference began in Bournemouth. Despite heavy media attention, the broadcast was seen by only 1.5 million viewers. [cite news|first= Philip|last= Reevell|title= Dirty Den leads audience to Monarch of the Glen|work= Broadcast|publisher= EMAP|date= 2003-10-17|page= 35]

The film received a screening at the San Francisco Film Festival on 5 May 2007, following an interview with Peter Morgan. [cite news|author= Multiple contributors|title= News/Scoop du jour: Saturday, 5 May|url=|work= San Francisco Film Festival website|publisher= San Francisco Film Society|date= 2007|accessdate= 2008-02-21] International rights for North America and Australasia were purchased from Channel 4 International by The Weinstein Company in 2007, who sold it to American cable network HBO. HBO screened "The Deal" on 8 November 2007.cite news|first= Dominic|last= Schreiber|title= HBO makes 'Deal' for Tony Blair film|url=|work= Variety|publisher= Reed Business Information|date= 2007-10-24|accessdate= 2008-02-21] Channel 4 released it on region 2 DVD on 19 May 2008 under its 4dvd brand. [cite web|title= Official Announcements from the PR companies: The Deal |url=|work= The R2 Project|date= 2008-03-14|accessdate= 2008-04-20] Genius Products, an imprint of The Weinstein Company, released "The Deal" on region 1 DVD on 29 July 2008. The region 1 edition features an audio commentary by Morgan and Langan, and an interview with Frears. [cite web|first= Chris|last= Ball|title= DVD Extras: A young Javier Bardem goes wild in `Extasis,' plus reviews of 'Joe Louis: America's Hero … Betrayed,' & more|url=|work= Everything Cleveland|accessdate= 2008-07-28]


Reviews of the film following a press screening were generally positive. "The Guardian" published a number of reviews by politicians and political aides; Charlie Whelan called it "enjoyable, if not entirely accurate", complaining that he was portrayed unsympathetically in comparison to Peter Mandelson—"the Prince of Darkness". Whelan was highly complimentary of Morrissey's performance, but criticised Morgan's script for portraying Brown as he was publicly perceived. [cite news|first= Charlie|last= Whelan|authorlink= Charlie Whelan|title= The Deal's off|url=|work= Media Guardian|publisher= Guardian News & Media Ltd.|date= 2003-09-24|accessdate= 2008-02-21] Michael Portillo, the Secretary of State for Defence during the time that Blair was Leader of the Opposition, wrote a positive account of the film, using his review as a platform to recall the events surrounding the 1992 general election. Tim Allan, Blair's deputy press secretary for four years, called it "cracking stuff", highlighting the leads' performances and the fact-based nature of the script. [cite news|author= Portillo, Michael|coauthors= Tim Allan|title= Pact or fiction?|url=|work= The Guardian|publisher= Guardian News & Media Ltd.|date= 2003-09-25|accessdate= 2008-02-21]

Mark Davies, the political reporter for "BBC News Online", criticised the script's bias towards Brown and Sheen's apparently negative performance; "Michael Sheen at first plays Blair in the style of "Spitting Image"'s David Steel puppet: bounding along next to his far superior colleague like an over-eager puppy. The actor later transforms Blair into something more sinister and cynical […] Think Rik Mayall's Alan B'stard." As with other critics, Davies admired Morrissey's performance, singling out the actor's grasp of Brown's physical tics. [cite news|first= Mark|last= Davies|title= The Deal proves unfair to Blair|url=|work= BBC News Online|publisher= BBC|date= 2003-09-29|accessdate= 2008-02-21] For the "Daily Express", James Rampton singled out the balance of drama and humour. Upon broadcast in the United States—and in retrospect of "The Queen"—"The Boston Globe"'s Matthew Gilbert called it "tightly written and effectively acted, and yet it still plays more like a docudramatic re-creation than a Shakespearean glimpse at brotherly tension." Of Morrissey, Gilbert wrote "He brings depth to Brown, a Scot, as a moody, private workaholic whose passion is in ideas and not in performing to the public." [cite news|first= Matthew|last= Gilbert|title= Behind the scenes with Blair again|url=|work= The Boston Globe|publisher= The New York Times Company|date= 2007-11-08|accessdate= 2008-02-21]

The drama won the British Academy Television Award for Best Single Drama and Morrissey won the RTS Programme Award for Male Actor. [cite news|last= Staff writer|title= Bafta TV Award 2004 winners|url=|work= BBC News Online|publisher= BBC|date= 2004-04-28|accessdate= 2008-02-21] cite web|title= RTS Programme Awards 2003|url=|work= Royal Television Society website|publisher= Royal Television Societydate= 2004|accessdate= 2008-02-21] It was nominated in the RTS category for Best Single Drama and the International Emmy Award category for Best TV Movie or Miniseries. [cite news|last=Staff writer|title=UK sweep up at global Emmy Awards|url=|work= BBC News Online|publisher= BBC|date= 2004-11-23|accessdate=2008-02-21]


Frears had a clause in his contract that allowed him to direct any sequels. The success of "The Deal" prompted the production team to consider a new film—possibly surrounding Britain's commitment to the war in Iraq. In 2004, it was announced that a follow-up would be produced for theatrical release in 2006; "The Queen" stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, with Sheen reprising his role as Blair. The film, written by Morgan, dramatised the week following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Christine Langan described the film as not being a direct sequel, only that it reunited the same creative team.cite news|first= Matt|last= Wells|title= Helen Mirren poised for royal role|url=|work= The Guardian|publisher= Guardian News & Media Ltd.|date= 2004-08-30|accessdate= 2008-02-21]

As of 2008, a second follow-up is in the early stages of pre-production, once again starring Sheen as Blair. The film has a working title of "The Special Relationship" and is to be written by Morgan for Left Bank Pictures and BBC Films. The script will explore the relationship between Blair and Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. It is unknown whether Frears will direct this third part. [cite news|first= Adam|last= Dawtrey|title= Morgan prepares 'Queen' sequel|url=|work= Variety|publisher= Reed Business Information|date= 2007-10-01|accessdate= 2008-02-21] [cite video|people= Harries, Andy|title= Andy Harries, Coventry Conversations, 25th April|url=|format= MP3|publisher= Coventry University Podcasting Service|date2= 2007-04-27|accessdate= 2008-02-21]


External links

* [ "The Deal"] at
* [ "The Deal"] at the BFI's Screenonline
*imdb title|id=0381131|title=The Deal

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