Ricky Gervais Q&A: Part 2

BATD ON Feb 25, 2009 AT 3:55 pm

Ricky Gervais as David Brent

Ricky Gervais as David Brent

Does the line about hail being the stupidest form of precipitation owe anything to Karl Pilkington?
Yeah, well the thing is with these characters you do draw on them. I get much more inspiration from real life than I do from other films or other tv shows. The Office was straight from real life, I worked in an office for seven years. My English teacher always told me to write about what I know. I worked in an office, I did Extras because I had worked in that world. And when I play a role I’m thinking ‘what would he say?. Who can I draw upon?’. And Karl crops up more than you’d think, particularly if you’re playing a buffoon. If you’re playing an idiot savant, stupid man who made up his mind about everything when he was eight and hasn’t changed his opinion since then, then Karl’s you’re man.

Ghost Town

Ghost Town

There is a rich generation of British comics in Hollywood now with you, Pegg and Coogan?

I think the British have always been popping up there, I don’t think it’s changed really. We’ve got a few films stars, we’ve Kate Winslet and those guys [she’s from Reading] and Kenneth Branagh’s from Reading as well, and people like Michael Caine. I don’t know, I’m not really trying to make it by popping up in loads of films. I go the other route really, if I’ve made it in Hollywood it’s through the things I’ve created like The Office and Extras and This Side of the Truth. But these are fun, it’s fun to pop up in Night at the Museum but I don’t think it’s part of what I do. It’s a sideline, which is a terrible thing to say to people who are trying to just be an actor, but I’m much more interested in the writing and directing really.

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais

How tough is it to keep the character just likeable enough for the audience to care about him?

I think that’s really important, it was important with David Brent and with Andy Millman. I think what people saw in Pincus is that he’s only hurting himself really, he’s missing out and so I think they want you to redeem him. I think as an audience member you want him to see the error of his ways, and you feel that you’ve won, you feel that good has prevailed. And, without giving too much away, that certainly happens. But I must stress, this is not a formulaic, schmaltzy Hollywood film, this has got a lot more in common with those early films of Woody Allen and things like It’s A Wonderful Life and Groundhog Day. I mean look at me, I’m no Brad Pitt am I? Well, disagree.

Brad Pitt is no Ricky Gervais….

That’s the clip, that’s the clip.

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