McShane Based Journo in New Woody Allen Film on ‘Hack’ Christopher Hitchens

By: E&P Staff

While journalists of a certain gender and age, or any age, may be more interested in the Scarlett Johansson character in the new Woody Allen movie opening on Friday — she plays a student reporter — there’s even more reason to see the film. Ian McShane of “Deadwood” plays a crusty (deceased) older journo named Joe Strombel who inspires the bumbling young reporter to probe the “tarot card serial killer” in London, in the film titled “Scoop.”

So who did he base his disheveled character on? Physically, at least, it was the man he calls “the old British hack,” Christopher Hitchens.

Asked about his inspiration by an interviewer with the film site Comingsoon.net, he replied: “Well, there was a wonderful English character, who’s a reporter I’d known on and off, married to a great friend of mine, called Ross Benson who died a year and a half ago, sadly, but he’d done everything. He’d been in like three wars, he was in Vietnam, he was in Iraq, the first Gulf War, and he wrote about the West End show business, whatever, and he was like that hard drinking, been everywhere.

“I think I modeled my look slightly after that enfant terrible of Christopher Hitchens with a slight stubble, the old British hack who you tolerate in this country whose politics seem to have taken a large degree swing, but he’s well worth a look at.”

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