Gayfellas

Article excerpt

Harry Starks is your typical successful gangster in '60s London--smart about business, ruthless about using violence to get what he wants, and besotted with a lover who betrays him. But in The Long Firm--a new four-part BBC America miniseries--the lover is a talentless male wannabe actor who sleeps with a fading B-level actress. Starks might weep over the death of Judy Garland, but he's not going to take that sort of backstabbing in his stride.

Airing Sundays at 10 P.M. starting March 6, The Long Firm is based on the critically acclaimed novel by author Jake Arnott (the first in a loose trilogy) and stars Derek Jacobi as the seedy Lord Thursby and the Clive Owens-esque Mark Strong as Starks.

"Starks was a very difficult part to cast because, bizarrely, it's the most underwritten, in a way," says Arnott, who lives in London. "Everyone has an opinion about him, and he seems to have all these different aspects. Harry is a very sentimental person and is very messed up--as we all are--by the boys that he falls in love with."

Arnott also credits out director Billie Eltringham (This Is Not a Love Song) for her skill in guiding the men and keeping the women just as tough-minded. …