Steve Coogan and Sarah Solemani to explore #MeToo in comedy drama | Culture


Steve Coogan is shining a light on gender politics after the rise of the #MeToo movement in a new Channel 4 comedy drama in which he plays a successful “ladies’ man” film producer who has to reshoot his sexist film in order to save his career.

Chivalry looks at the changing nature of the film industry after the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, in the form of an unlikely attraction between Coogan’s character, Cameron, and a liberal director called Bobby played by Sarah Solemani.

After Bobby is promised funding by a studio for her feminist biblical feature if she helps rescue Cameron’s sexually controversial thriller, the pair forge an unlikely partnership as they bid to detoxify the film and negotiate their “gender tensions”.

Billed as a satire about “the complex state of contemporary sexual politics”, Channel 4 said the six-part series asked “how fluid are our politics and how political are our fluids? Can romance blossom – not in spite of #MeToo, but because of it?”

Solemani said it was a timely comedy and that Chivalry “was born through a series of fiery debates with my comedy hero and renowned feminist, Steve Coogan”. The pair worked together recently on Michael Winterbottom’s Greed, which was inspired by fashion mogul Sir Philip Green.

Coogan said: “I am delighted to be working with the very funny, clever Sarah Solemani in the landscape of what in less enlightened times was called ‘the battle of the sexes’. Chivalry is more of a painfully honest, funny fencing match. We will attack, riposte, lunge, parry and counter-parry and perhaps, when the bout is over, take off our masks revealing our true selves.”

It is not the first time Coogan has taken on characters brought up short by the #MeToo era. His veteran character Alan Partridge recently returned to the BBC and was shown floundering as he tried to prove he had become more enlightened. In Greed he played Sir Richard McCreadie, the powerful owner of a string of fast-fashion brands.

Ian Katz, Channel 4’s director of programmes, said: “It would be hard to think of a better double act to explore the charged territory of gender politics in a post-#MeToo world than Solemani and Coogan. Their script is timely, human and laugh-out-loud funny.”

Coogan’s production company, Baby Cow, will make the series and it will be produced by its CEO, Christine Langan, whose credits include Oscar-winning drama The Queen.

Although Chivalry is not based on Weinstein, its premise deals with the consequences for the film industry in light of the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by more than 80 women.

Weinstein’s criminal trial is taking place in New York and he has pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted two women. He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.



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