ONE of Hollywood’s biggest stars is set to play Wigan’s own George Formby!
Johnny Depp is said to have been lined up to play the uke-strumming entertainer for a major new movie.
And the A-listed heart-throb was today invited to abandon his fabulous home in Beverley Hills to tour Wigan so he can fully prepare for the role.
It is not such a fanciful idea to see one of the current box office’s biggest draws taking on such a role.
For Depp is renowned for his left-field choice of parts. And let’s not forget that our George himself was once one of the world’s biggest earners, sometimes banking more than Fred Astaire and Errol Flynn per year in his 1930s and early 40s heyday.
And there is plenty of interesting biographical detail to cover: Whether it be that George went through his entire life unaware that he was illegitimate (his father was, unbeknownst to him, a bigamist); his early years as a jockey; his emergence from the shadow of his performer dad; his hugely popular records and films; entertaining the troops during the war; the storm he caused by opposing South African apartheid; and the enigma as to whether his wife Beryl really did hen-peck him or whether it was all a stunt.
Standish independent councillor Gareth Fairhurst has wasted no time in inviting Depp, who has played roles as diverse as Willy Wonka and Edward Scissorhands - to the town to help his method acting.
Formby fan Coun Fairhurst, who campaigned for a statue to the Westminster Street-born star - to be created, hopes that his campaign to invite Depp to the borough, will earn cross-party support.
He already has the backing of the George Formby Society.
Coun Fairhurst said: “It is rumoured that George has this big fan in Johnny Depp and it is being strongly mooted that he is looking to do a movie about George.
“I hear that he has the northern accent down to a tee and that he is honing his ukulele skills.
“I am thrilled that George’s name and one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars, Johnny Depp, are being mentioned in the same sentence.
“I know the President of the George Formby Society, Gerry Mawdsley is over the moon. If this project really does happen I am sure that Johnny will want to visit George Formby’s home town and come to see the statue and that is why I am now in the process of inviting him.”