Steve Coogan's porn film

New biopic of strip club owner Paul Raymond

Steve Coogan has been lined up to play porn baron Paul Raymond in a new film biography.

Raymond was a legendary Soho figure who opened Britain’s first strip club – Raymond Revuebar – in 1958 and published the magazines Razzle, Mayfair and Men Only. He put his money into property, and came to own large tracts of London’s West End before dying a multimillionaire recluse in 2008.

Now his life story is being adapted into a movie to be directed by Michael Winterbottom – who previously worked with Coogan on 24-Hour Party People and A Cock And Bull Story.

Raymond’s biographer Paul Willett revealed Coogan’s involvement during a public talk at Westminster Reference Library over the weekend.

He said plans were ‘well advanced’ for the Alan Partridge star to join the film, which has the working title Paul Raymond’s Wonderful World Of Erotica.

It is being made by Winterbottom’s Revolution Films with Film Four, and Coogan’s involvement has also been mentioned in trade journal Screen International.

The screenplay is being written by Matt Greenhalgh, based on Willetts’ biography Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond. Greenhalgh previously adapted a biography of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis into the acclaimed 2007 film Control.

Raymond’s Revuebar was also a significant venue in the early days of alternative comedy, as it was home to The Comic Strip troupe that included Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

Nigel Planer once said: ‘The Raymond Revuebar was a strange place because in the interval our non-racist, non-sexist audience would walk into the bar where there were soft-porn videos playing. A most paradoxical venue.’

Comedy producer John Fleming, who attended Willetts’s talk, said on his blog: ‘Raymond is a perfect movie subject – larger than life and with pretensions beyond his art.’

Published: 31 May 2011

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