We talked to Ricky Gervais about his new film Cemetery Junction recently, and he had some big revelations for us: chief among them the news that the film will become a TV show after it's hit the big screen. We also learned that his Flanimals is set to come out in 3D. Here's the lowdown: first, Gervais' response when we asked about why he decided to take Cemetery Junction (once called The Man From The Pru and planned for TV) to the big screen.
"Well yes, it was once going to be a TV show and maybe still is, but we’re trying to do it the M*A*S*H* way round. We thought that when you do a TV show and then do a film, generally it’s awful. One, it taints the film with a TV brush. It breaks its credibility a little bit. I don’t want to do a film that’s just an extended TV episode. So we want to give the film its best shot and treat it with the reverence a film deserves."
"There are so many films made that don’t deserve to be shot on film. You know, there’s not filmic or cinematic at all — they’re just two hours of a TV show with people off TV running around being funny. So we were like, “We want to give this a best chance, so let’s do it the M*A*S*H* way round.”We’ll put all our eggs into the film, and then we’ll do a TV spin-off, which we’ll treat differently. "
"We want to use the main characters from the film. Except they’ll have become big-shots and they won’t return my calls. I’m like Simon Cowell. I get 50% of their wages for ever now."
So how soon can we expect to see the show?
"We’ll edit the film and release it maybe nine months after we’ve shot it, and then we’ll start writing the TV show. We’re not going to rush it out – we never have — so we’ve told the BBC, “It’s ready when it’s ready.”We never give ourselves a deadline, a TX date, until we’re in the cutting room. And even then we don’t rush. So it might be two years, might be three."
And on Flanimals, he had this to say:
"Actually this week we got through the first draft of the script. So we’re on the second draft now. I’m producing the film, with Christopher Meledandri of Illumination, and writing the script is Matt Selman, who was the head writer of The Simpsons. So we’ve pretty much got the A-team on this."
"I’m going to play the lead character, a Puddloflaj called Puddy. It’s great fun to work on and it’s really weird. Flanimals was a little thing I used to do when I was 15 to make my nephew laugh. And now this is happening. The important thing is, we never plan it. It’s nice and organic and you keep hold of it and you own it. What I don’t do is run around trying to do anything. It’s got to be a labour of love first and then it’s ten times as rewarding when something happens."
"The good thing about owning everything is I can give myself the lead role. The Puddloflaj is a fat useless blob. He’s a sweaty, purple-faced, cowardly wobbler. And he’s got a Reading accent. Brilliant! And it’ll be 3-D. Posh! $80 million was the last count. Crazy, isn’t it?"
You heard it here first. For more on Cemetery Junction, check out previous stories on it here, and for Flanimals read a bit more here.