Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No lie, Ricky's ready to go home for film


Ricky Gervais talked mostly about "The Invention of Lying" when press assembled recently at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival. Still, he did mention something about dissing Thomas Wolfe and actually going home again.
No, he didn't. But, he and partner in comic capers Stephen Merchant (who enjoys a funny cameo in "Lying") are re-visiting smalltown England in their next film, "Cemetery Junction," which the Emmy-winning Gervais explained is now being edited.
"I suppose it's about sort of class. It's a romantic drama, I suppose, but it's funny," Gervais said. "I suppose it's a return to what we do best, me and Steve. It's about the minutia of human behavior and it's set in the early '70s with a group of twentysomethings and a small town mentality.
"One of the lines that inspired us is from (Bruce Springsteen's) 'Thunder Road': 'It's a town full of losers and they're looking to win.' So it's like our 'Saturday Night Fever' really."
The Emmy-winning creator/star of BBC's "The Office" and HBO's seriously funny "Extras" will co-star with fellow Brits Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode and Felicity Jones. He again co-directs and co-writes with Merchant, who appears briefly.
"Everything you do is autobiographical," Gervais said, "I grew up in a town called Redding and I had older brothers and sisters and so it's all my memories of growing up. It's not a depressing, sort of gritty British movie about blue-collar, working class. It's quite a celebration of that. I have great memories of growing up in a working-class estate, and I remember it being sunny all the time. So we're putting that false vision, I'm sure, onscreen.
"We had to cast wide and new," Gervais concluded, "so it was four complete unknowns -- the kids, the twenty somethings -- because the terrible thing in England is that, if you interview 1,000 people, 500 of them will be talking like they're going into a soap or going into a Guy Ritchie movie. The other 500 will be Mr. Darcy one day.
"That's why we had we had to find cool, working-class kids with no profile who could be John Travolta and James Dean, things like that. It's a much smaller production."
"Cemetery Junction" will be released -- at least abroad -- in mid-2010. Meanwhile, "The Invention of Lying" opens Friday. Read my review right now at Sun News, where you also can learn what Gervais and co-stars Jennfier Garner and Rob Lowe have to say about their new romantic comedy.

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