Boris Johnson has confirmed that he is the author of a “hilariously awful” film script that was recently unearthed, after being rejected by a “very distinguished director” in 2015.

The prime minister’s script, Mission to Assyria, which he described in the pitch as a “blockbuster”, was revealed last week by Evening Standard columnist and sister of Samantha Cameron, Emily Sheffield.

Johnson told the publication: “I did send it to a very distinguished director, and I’m embarrassed to say that I had no answer back. I was so crestfallen that I didn’t pursue it.”

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He added that he abandoned the idea after seeing an advert for the George Clooney film The Monuments Men. “I thought, ‘Damn, that’s probably my idea,’” said Johnson.

The former Mayor of London said he was inspired by the destruction of large portions of the Middle East’s archaeological heritage after the Iraq war to create “a glorious wish-fulfilment dream movie, a mixture of Golan-Globus and Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

In the script, which is written in “classic Boris prose” according to Sheffield, jihadis are described as being “spifflicated” with shovels. Helictopters go “dugga, dugga, dugga, thwok, thwok, thwok” and, at the end, a “horrible cologne-drenched jihadi with an air of mincing menace” is murdered with the phrase “Aaargh. Splatteroo”.

Johnson’s lead character in Mission to Assyria is an archaeologist named Marmaduke Montmorency Burton, who leads a seven-strong team of explorers whose aim is to save “Shargar, the long-lost city of Tiglath-Pileser III in Syria, from the advancing evil of Islamic State”.

The prime minister suggested Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson for the female lead, a “gorgeous but scholarly” younger woman who teams up with Marmaduke to rescue relics.

Johnson is not the first politician to try his hand at script-writing, with an Islamophobic film written a decade ago by Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, resurfacing in 2017.

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