Degrees of separation: what connects Richard Osman to LeBron and Zendaya?

·2 min read

Richard Osman
The cohost of the BBC’s Pointless is now a fiction superstar: 2020’s caper, The Thursday Murder Club, was followed last month by The Man Who Died Twice. Both follow residents of a Kent retirement village who become sleuths. Osman’s debut sold more than a million and the follow-up is one of the fastest-selling novels of all time in the UK.

Richard Osman.
Richard Osman, author of The Thursday Murder Club … Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Guardian

Ol Parker
Last year Ol Parker was lined up to make a film of The Thursday Murder Club. The English writer-director, who is married to Thandiwe Newton, is carving out a real niche for himself, having written the Marigold Hotel films and directed the Mamma Mia! sequel. In 2018, Newton featured in the semi-dud Star Wars spin-off Solo, alongside Emilia Clarke, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian.

Solo’s modest box office returns were a mere blip in the Donald Glover’s impressive career. The third season of his brilliantly freewheeling series Atlanta is in the works, some of it seemingly shot in London. Back in 2017, Glover also had a role in Spider-Man: Homecoming with Tom Holland and Zendaya (now on screens in sci-fi blockbuster Dune).

Donald Glover.
Donald Glover, who appeared in Solo with Parker’s wife, Thandiwe Newton. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Space Jamming
It won’t go down as Zendaya’s finest role, but she voiced Lola Bunny in last July’s reboot of Space Jam (one star! – the Guardian). In the 1996 original, basketball superstar Michael Jordan played a fictional version of himself beside Bugs Bunny. In the remake, Jordan is replaced by LeBron James. When not on court for the LA Lakers, one of James’s side projects is production development firm SpringHill Company.

LeBron James
LeBron James, whose production company created the US original of TV show The Wall. Photograph: Alamy

The Wall
Saturday nights on BBC One see Danny Dyer bellow at balls rolling down a large wall. The creators of the US original include LeBron James through SpringHill. It may be one of the few gameshows on British TV that doesn’t have the fingerprints of Richard Osman on it. But the involvement of LeBron is the sort of random fact that Osman might tell you while sitting at his desk on Pointless. See also: Osman’s brother Mat is the bassist in Suede.

Osman’s brother Mat.
Who is the Suede bassist? Mat Osman. (Well done if you got that at home.) Photograph: Getty Images

Watch Only Murders in the Building: Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez star as true-crime obsessed neighbours, in this genial comedy-mystery series available on Disney+.

Drink Osman’s first novel contains an unlikely paean to the British commuter’s post-work drink of choice: M&S tinned G&T.

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