Steve Coogan has insisted his new movie Greed isn’t a “direct attack” on businessman Philip Green, despite using the controversial retail mogul as an inspiration.
Coogan’s fictional character in the film, Sir Richard McCreadie, is loosely based on Green, with the film’s storylines taking inspiration from many of the news stories surrounding the British entrepreneur, including alleged tax avoidance and lavish celebrity-filled parties.
However, the comedian has insisted to the BBC that the movie is not a “direct attack” on the Arcadia Group chairman, but that his lavish lifestyle and outspoken manner provided a good hook for a film about how the wealthy exploit people.
“There are many people who make their money by exploiting people,” he explained. “Most of them behave discreetly and they don’t want to draw attention to themselves, but (Green is) the reverse.
“For a long time, he was like, ‘Check me out, see how successful I am. Look at my money. Look at my parties. Look at my friends.’ Because he’s a charismatic figure, it was a good basis on which to develop this movie idea.
“Even though (my character is) horrible to people he’s got a funny turn of phrase, so you go along for the ride and that’s important. If it’s just obnoxious, reprehensible behaviour then you’re not going to stick around too long.”
Although he was a divisive figure due to his wealth and tax arrangements, Green was also often seen in the company of stars, including Kate Moss, who designed for his Topshop chain, until he was accused of bullying and sexual harassment in 2018. He has denied all allegations and a U.S. case against him was dismissed last month.
Friends of Green have said he will not watch the film, telling Britain’s Sunday People he’s avoiding it because he’s heard “it’s a load of s**t”.
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