Whatever happened to Clement and La Frenais?
wiped them out. If the last big earthquake in Los Angeles had been at another time [of day], Ian might be dead,” says Dick. “My Baftas sit on top of the shelf and last time we had an earthquake, a couple of them fell down. If Ian had been sitting in his normal chair, a Bafta would have landed on his head.”
Essex-born Dick and Northumberlandborn Ian moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s. Every day they meet to write, amassing drawers full of scripts and ideas for potential new TV shows, films and musicals.
“We are very aware that anyone over about 65 is marginalised, certainly in LA. What is astonishing is we are writing a pilot for YouTube which is so youth orientated, no one could believe it! They say ‘What?’.”
They recently met a gang of equally energetic octo- and nonagenarians, including 92-year-old film maker Mel Brooks.
“We got asked to have lunch with older Hollywood guys,” says Dick. “Someone rang me up and said, ‘Do you want to go?’ I said ‘Who died?’ “But no one had, they just wanted us to come. The eldest was Mel Brooks and an agent who is 86 and three producers and it was inspiring to know they were all talking about new ventures.”
With a constant stream of new ideas, it’s hardly surprising that there is great interest in their autobiography that is due to be published next year.
Their chance first meeting in London’s Notting Hill is something that they now enjoy being vague about.
“We were in a pub having dinner,” says Ian. “It was a really banal meeting so in the book we’ve invented two other ways to meet that are just more interesting.”
THEY have worked with some of the biggest names of stage and screen. They wrote the screenplay for 1991’s The Commitments. “The celebrity names are for the publisher – Sean Connery, Marlon Brando, Michael Caine and people like that – but it’s really a memoir with each of us writing a chapter. We are still searching for a title, but we’ve got a few months to decide,” says Ian.
The book is not planned as any type of farewell. Says Dick with a sparkle in his eye: “We have this film script about a woman who fights tiger poachers. We’d like to work with Charlize Theron. Can you let her know please?”
Chasing Bono is at the Soho Theatre (sohotheatre.com) until January 19.
CLASSIC: James Bolam and Rodney Bewes in Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?
NEW VENTURE: Ian La Frenais, far left, and Dick Clement with theatre producer Sally Wood