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Monday, 21 July 2008

Mail reports Moffat chose Who over Speilberg

The Mail on Sunday newspaper in the United Kingdom is running a news story titled 500,000 pounds Mr Spielberg? Sorry, I've got a date with the Beeb, says the new Dr Who writer, in which it claims that incoming Doctor Who executive producer and chief writer Steven Moffat turned down a lucrative deal to write the second instalment of the new Tintin film franchise in order to take over the running of Doctor Who.

Moffat tells the Mail that he had originally signed up to write the first two Tintin films of the planned trilogy, to be directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. However, after completing the script for the first film, Moffat was offered his new position with Doctor Who, and pulled out of the deal.

"I was offered the Doctor Who job and accepted immediately," Moffat is quoted as telling the paper. "I hope you won't make what happened sound too dramatic. I talked to Steven and he understood completely. I could not work on the second Tintin film and work on Doctor Who. So I chose Doctor Who. Steven is a fan and he understood my passion for the series completely."

"There are no bad feelings between Spielberg and me, but Doctor Who has to come before Hollywood."

Moffat further adds that current executive producer and chief writer Russell T Davies is working on four specials, and then Moffat will take over the running of the series.

UPDATE, July 21:
Moffat has described the Daily Mail report as "a bit misleading" in an interview with BBC News. Moffat told the BBC that he had planned to finish his work on Tintin before beginning his Doctor Who work, but the former was interrupted by the US writers' strike. He also says that "nothing less than Doctor Who could have torn [him] away" from Tintin. He called Tintin a "stunning project" he was "proud" to be part of, but added that it was "the proper duty of every British subject to come to the aid of the TARDIS".

Moffat also noted that although the Daily Mail report called Steven Spielberg "a fan" of Doctor Who, in fact he merely "knows and admires" the programme. Of the two directors working on the Tintin project, it is Peter Jackson who is a Doctor Who fan, according to Moffat.

Finally, Moffat told the BBC that the figures quoted in the Daily Mail article are "entirely speculative and wildly inaccurate".

The first Tintin film, directed by Spielberg based on Moffat's script, will star Thomas Sangster in the title role; Doctor Who fans will remember Sangster as Tim Latimer in last year's story "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood".