The Prime Minister revealed for the first time how he posted his attempt to break into Hollywood to a “very distinguished director” and heard nothing back.
The existence of the script written four years ago was unearthed last week by Standard columnist Emily Sheffield, who described his pitch for the project as “hilariously awful”. No 10 at the time declined to confirm or deny the authenticity off the find.
But asked directly to confirm it was his work, Mr Johnson roared with laughter and said: “I can. I don’t know how this has emerged.”
Boris’s epic fantasy featured an archaeologist described as an “old Clooney/Connery/Eastwood type in his fifties” named Marmaduke Montmorency Burton. In the story he teamed up with a “gorgeous but scholarly” younger woman to rescue relics.
Were there parallels between the hero and one Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, lover of ancient history and classics scholar, aged 55?
“No,” he said. “I think it was meant to be Harrison Ford. But the trouble was I wrote it and then, much to my dismay, I saw an advertisement on a bus for a film called The Monuments Men and I thought, ‘damn, that’s probably my idea’.”
The Monuments Men was a 2014 film directed by Clooney which depicted military art historians in the Second World War saving treasures from the Nazis. Although Mr Johnson insists his movie would have been “brilliant”, his intended director did not seem to agree.
“I did send it to a very distinguished director and I’m embarrassed to say that I had no answer back. I was so crestfallen that I didn’t pursue it. It was absolutely brilliant.”
All that is known about the lost movie treasure comes from the pitch accompanying the script. It described the opening scenes as “a sickening montage of atrocities: beheadings of innocent people, torchings of Shias, rapes of Yazidi women … orchestrated by a horrible cologne-drenched jihadi.”
Mr Johnson tentatively suggested Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson would be ideal for the female lead.
Many of the script directions are in the Prime Minister’s uniquely colourful language, with jihadis being “spifflicated” with a shovel and a chief villain dispatched with a “splatteroo”.
There is speculation that the “distinguished” film industry figure is The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper.