The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - RADIO WEEK -

OVER AMER­ICA Just when I thought I’d heard it all when it comes to Amer­ica’s crazy gun laws, up popped a quite ex­tra­or­di­nary and, to my mind, ut­terly ap­palling story from Texas to­day.

A man called Ezekiel Gil­bert was ac­quit­ted by a jury in Bexar County of mur­der­ing an es­cort girl.

He shot her af­ter she re­fused to have sex with him, or re­turn the $150 in cash he had given her, sup­pos­edly for that pur­pose. The woman was paral­ysed in the shoot­ing, and later died.

Un­der Texas law, peo­ple are al­lowed ‘to use deadly force to re­cover prop­erty dur­ing a night-time theft’.

Gil­bert’s lawyers suc­cess­fully ar­gued that his ac­tions were jus­ti­fied be­cause he be­lieved sex was in­cluded as part of his fee to the es­cort. If this had hap­pened in Iran or Saudi Ara­bia, we’d all brand it a re­volt­ing me­dieval mon­stros­ity. In Amer­ica, it didn’t even make national news. over…’ This was, of course, at the height of the cam­paign in Amer­ica to have me de­ported. Amaz­ing how quickly you can go off some­one… Last month, I met Katy Perry at a plush Van­ity Fair party in Wash­ing­ton DC, and she told me, ‘You Brits are all the same — so damn con­fi­dent.

‘Trou­ble is, I find that con­fi­dence ir­re­sistible. I love Brits… Well, not all of them — not Rasputin, ob­vi­ously.’

‘Who’s Rasputin?’ I asked, feign­ing in­no­cence. ‘You know who.’ And al­though she never ac­tu­ally said his name, of course I did. To­day, her re­cently de­parted ex­hus­band Rus­sell Brand bounded into my CNN stu­dio in New York, look­ing, well, ex­actly like Rasputin — very tall, with a jet-black beard and wild, al­most de­monic eyes.

I like Rus­sell. He’s a fas­ci­nat­ingly com­plex char­ac­ter with a fe­ro­cious in­tel­li­gence, and a quite ex­tra­or­di­nary com­mand of the English lan­guage for some­one who bailed out of his state-school ed­u­ca­tion aged 15 to pur­sue a life of scan­dalous drug and sex ad­dic­tion.

Rasputin was a crazed Rus­sian monk of equally fe­ro­cious in­tel­li­gence and lust for women, who ex­erted a weird psy­cho-log­i­cal stran­gle- hold over the Rus­sian Tsar Nicholas II af­ter heal­ing his son.

His sup­por ters saw him as a saintly healer and prophet. His en­e­mies saw him as a de­bauched re­li­gious char­la­tan ob­sessed with hav­ing sex with his fol­low­ers. Even­tu­ally, Rasputin’s ac­tions helped bring down the Tsar in the 1917 Rus­sian Rev­o­lu­tion, shortly be­fore which he him­self was stabbed, poi­soned, shot, beaten and drowned by as­sas­sins — My movie ca­reer has had, un­til now, one glar­ing genre omis­sion — zom­bies. I’ve been cast in a com­edy, play­ing my­self in Will Fer­rell’s The Cam­paign — the big­gest-gross­ing po­lit­i­cal satire in his­tory. And cho­sen for a dra­matic thriller, again play­ing my­self in Den­zel Wash­ing­ton’s Os­car-nom­i­nated Flight.

But un­til now, in­ex­pli­ca­bly, no­body in Hol­ly­wood has thought to them­selves, ‘Hmm, I think Piers Mor­gan would be great for this film about vi­o­lent, can­ni­bal­is­tic zom­bies.’ For­tu­nately, Brad Pitt clearly recog­nised this shock­ing gap in my CV too. I’m not say­ing I steal the show in his block­buster World War Z, but Brad clearly thought my in­clu­sion was vi­tal to the suc­cess of the movie — so much so that I ap­pear in the open­ing mo­ments.

Cin­ema­go­ers can see me play­ing my­self yet again, in my CNN stu­dio in LA, host­ing a heated de­bate on global warm­ing. And say­ing the fol­low­ing words: ‘The planet is get­ting hot­ter, CO2 emis­sions have dra­mat­i­cally in­creased in the last 50 years…’ Daniel Day-Lewis may be the best char­ac­ter ac­tor in the world. But even he can’t

play me bet­ter than I do.

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