For Your Consideration

Gervais And Spinal Tap hit the LFF

For Your Consideration

by empire |
Published on

The Odeon West End was buzzing with comic class on Saturday night, as Christopher Guest’s new Hollywood satire For Your Consideration arrived at the LFF with an array of its stars in attendance. Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Harry Shearer and our very own Ricky Gervais were just a few of the cast milling around the upstairs bar – where the focal point seemed to be a man whose intermittent belly laughs resonated across the room with such force, it was a wonder the walls didn’t crumble down around us.

“Let’s get away from the loud laughing man”, suggested long-serving Guest collaborator Michael McKean as he greeted Empire for an exclusive chat. As one third of the seminal Spinal Tap, McKean’s relationship with Guest goes back over twenty years: “Chris and I were room mates in college so I’ve known him as long as I’ve known anybody”.

Revolving around the cast and crew of a unexpectedly Oscar-nominated period melodrama, For Your Consideration is Guest’s hilarious look at the frenzied reactions that follow the pre-awards-season buzz. “Chris’s first feature (The Big Picture) was about the trials of making a movie and it’s a very funny satire about Hollywood and the trappings of success, so it’s not the first time that he’s looked to this subject”, McKean explained. “Bob Balaban and myself play screenwriters who have written twenty-seven really unsuccessful plays. Then suddenly one of them gets snapped up by a Hollywood producer. This is really Catherine O’Hara’s movie and Harry Shearer’s movie. And the intergalactic bully Fred Willard is all over the place as well.”

Having been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song in 2003, McKean – who’s soon to open a play in the West End – has had firsthand experience of the effects of that all important Oscar build-up: “We did begin to feel the buzz from the inside, but we also knew we were very dark horses and we just let the experience be as fun as possible. So we got to go to the show and see Eugene and Catherine perform our song onstage. I mean we were nominated in the same category as Elvis Costello – that’s insane! But we certainly didn’t invest a lot emotionally. It’s interesting”, he continued, “the work is never supposed to be about awards, it’s supposed to be about how good you can make it. Awards can make the work feel secondary, and that’s just not right”.

As the cast – and the loud laughing man - were quickly ushered into the cinema for the onstage introductions, Empire managed to arrange a lightening-quick chat with the movie’s writer/director. Renowned as being a somewhat serious man far removed from Spinal Tap’s dim-witted axe-master Nigel Tufnel, Christopher Guest is in contemplative mood: “I’ve been in London for thirty-six hours”, said the man behind A Mighty Wind and Best In Show, “thirty four of them have been excellent”. And where did the idea behind the movie come from? “It was a idea that had always interested me. It’s fascinating to watch the turmoil people go through at this time of year. It’s devastating, and unfortunately it’s very difficult for people not to get caught up in it. It always seems to leave its mark.”

With the Academy’s notorious reputation for turning a blind eye towards comedy features, For Your Consideration may be an outside candidate for a shot at one of next year’s gongs, but from the smiles and chuckles erupting from those leaving the cinema tonight, the film’s success at the2006 LFF seems well and truly cemented.

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