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Thursday, 7 September, 2000, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Royle star lands Hollywood role
Ricky Tomlinson
Ricky Tomlinson plays a veteran drug pusher in the 18m film
Comedy star Ricky Tomlinson will join Hollywood actor Samuel L Jackson in a new movie set in Liverpool.

Tomlinson will star in The 51st State alongside rock star Meat Loaf and Scottish actor Robert Carlyle.

The film, which will be shot in Los Angeles as well as on Merseyside, is about US drug gangs trying to get a foothold in the British criminal scene.

England and Liverpool football player Michael Owen has also been approached to appear in the film.

Drug dealers battle

Tomlinson, 60, plays an established drug dealer who finds Jackson's character encroaching on his territory, trying to flood Europe with a new designer drug.

Samuel L Jackson
Samuel L Jackson appears as a criminal chemist caught up in Liverpool's club drug scene
He is best known for playing layabout father Jim in The Royle Family, a character he turned into comedy icon with his bawdy catchphrases.

But first made his mark in the early 1980s as Bobby Grant in the Channel 4 soap Brookside.

He has also appeared in a number of British films such as Ken Loach's gritty Raining Stones and Riff Raff.

Tomlinson will next be seen on British TV in the new ITV comedy Safe As Houses, in which he plays a butcher who becomes a door-to-door salesman.

High profile production

Jackson, star of Pulp Fiction, Rules of Engagement and the recent Shaft remake, plays a master chemist who heads to Britain to set up his last big deal.

The film, which starts filming later this month, is being shot over 10 weeks by Hong Kong-born director Ronny Yu - who also made horror film Bride of Chucky.

Also in the film are Sean Pertwee, Emily Mortimer and Rhys Ifans, who played Spike in Notting Hill.

David Kosse, managing director of film distributor Momentum Pictures, said the film would be a high-profile production.

"The 51st State has attracted A-list Hollywood in the form of Samuel L Jackson to work alongside such homegrown talent as Robert Carlyle," he added.

See also:

04 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Soccer star ponders film role
15 May 00 | Entertainment
A Royle night at the Baftas
18 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Royles clean up at comedy awards
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