In a case of life imitating art imitating life, screenwriter Peter Morgan is accusing Tony Blair of lifting lines for scenes in his recent memoir A Journey from Morgan’s fictionalized account of those same events in the 2006 film The Queen. The lines in question come when Blair meets with Queen Elizabeth in 1997 after becoming prime minister. Blair’s memoir reads, “You are my 10th prime minister. The first was Winston. That was before you were born,” while Helen Mirren’s dialogue in the film was, “You are my 10th prime minister, Mr. Blair. My first was Winston Churchill.”
Morgan tells The Daily Telegraph that he invented those lines out of thin air, meaning that it’s either a coincidence or that Blair “had one gin and tonic too many and confused the scene in the film with what had actually happened.” It’s a pretty rare occurrence to be accused of plagiarizing your own life, but Michael Sheen’s performance as Blair in the film was pretty convincing, so I think I could forgive the former 10 Downing Street occupant if he forgot which him was actually him. Just as long as he doesn’t start borrowing from The Ghost Writer, the thriller in which a thinly veiled Blair character writes his memoirs and people start getting mysteriously killed. That might be a bit much.