casI loved Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, so I couldn’t be more pleased that star Steve Coogan is reuniting with director Michael Winterbottom for another film, which would be their third together (24 Hour Party people came first). What I like a little bit less is that it’s going to be a serious movie. Just be funny, damn you.

The film is Murder in Samarkand, based on Craig Murray’s memoirs. Murray was the UK ambassador to Uzbekistan who got fired in 2004 after drawing attention to human rights abuses in that nation. It will take a year to get that movie running, Winterbottom says, so he’ll probably direct 30 or 40 films in the meantime. His next will be Genova, a ghost story about two American girls who move to Italy with their British father after their mother dies.

Coogan and Winterbottom had been considering working together on a space movie, which would be shot on the sets for Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, but an arrangement with the production – probably to shoot the movie on their lunch break or something – couldn’t be worked out.