This Side of the Truth (blog)
Week one - March 2008
I just spent a week in Boston scouting locations for This Side of The Truth, a movie written and directed by me and Matt Robinson.
This is the first movie either of us have directed and only my second lead role in a Hollywood film, (my first being Ghost Town, released later this year).
So when we met the crew and production staff we had to make a pretty good impression to be taken seriously.
The first thing we did was send out our new assistant Jake to buy some nerf guns.
We shot each other for about 20 minutes but were interrupted by our producer saying it was time for a conference call about special effects.
During the call me and Matt passed each other off-putting notes and obscene pictures to make each other laugh. I lost, and at one point had to leave the room.
We finished the day by asking the designer why he had spent so much time on the testicles of the model boar he had made. Once again myself and Matt were the only ones laughing.
I hope we find the finished film as funny.
Week two - March 2008
We've nearly finished casting. It's an amazing line up but I can't tell you all the cast just yet - not until the contracts are signed in blood. I should be able to spill the beans, as we say in England, in about a week or so.
I picked out all my costumes today. Some directors/lead actors would choose their wardrobe based on style, creation of original iconography and aesthetic enhancement of the fictional world. I chose mine based on comfort, how long they take to get in and out of and on what I would want to keep when the movie is complete.
I also had to choose a beard. I hate beards. They itch and the glue takes ages to get off. It's only for one shooting day but it's a pain.
(In the film I'm writing with Steve Merchant I'm playing a man with a bad back who sits in an arm chair all day. If I can hide a toilet in the armchair I will have created the perfect acting job for myself)
But anyway, back to This Side of the Truth.
Only a few weeks away from shooting now and I'm really looking forward to it. We're in good shape and we've even started planning the DVD extras. Matt, (co-writer/director) wants Karl Pilkington to do an alternative directors commentary. Can you imagine? Karl will probably be busy with his own film idea by then. It stars Clive Warren (?) and Rebecca De Mornay. Listen...
Week three - March 2008
With the main cast complete we have been concentrating this week on the smaller supporting roles. We've been casting in Boston and New York as there are about 70 distinct speaking roles to fill.
We are trying to avoid the "Hollywood actor look". No botox, perma-tans, or unfeasibly white teeth. Normal people. And by normal people I mean people bordering on a freak show exhibit. (In case any of the successful applicants are reading this I don't mean you.).
We want fat, thin, young and old of every race and demographic. Preferably with faces like a catcher's mitt and teeth like a vandalised grave yard.
Makes me look better too. Perfect.
I should point out that in the first picture I am not employing the services of padding or make-up. I think I have let myself go a bit.
Thank you to all the film and comedy websites that have linked to this blog and of course all the film fans that have logged on. I thought I should do a quick FAQ to answer some queries.
Is the film financed with American or English money? American. The film is funded by MRC and distributed by Warner Brothers in The US and Universal in the rest of the world. The film is completely American; finance, production, location, cast and crew. Except me. (I may wear a bowler hat and drink milky tea all day on set.)
Is it like Liar Liar in reverse? Not really. It's a contemporary world rather like our own, but in which the human race has never evolved the ability to lie. I play a loser who discovers one day that he, and only he has the ability to lie. In a world where no one even understands the concept of lying, everyone totally believes, without question anything I tell them. I can say anything at all and they accept this as the gospel truth. I can get anything I want. Or can I?
Is Jake (Matt's and my assistant) destined to become our gimp. Yes. I think this new-found fame has gone to his head. Whenever I want to torture him now I have to go through his agent.
CASTING UPDATE.... Latest cast additions just confirmed - John Hodgman, Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, Jeffrey Tambor join Louis CK, Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Garner. Oh and me, Ricky Gervais, obviously. Not a bad cast for a comedy.
Week Three supplementary entry...
Thanks to all the movie and news websites that said lovely things about the latest cast additions, especially buzzsugar.com who even put up similarly lovely pictures of all the actors.
My favourite pic was Louis CK's which I can only assume was his mug-shot from when he was arrested for armed robbery in Bolivia.
Matt made me feel bad about suggesting that Jake would let himself become our gimp. To put Matt's mind at rest, Jake has a long way to go before he degrades himself as much as my long-time editor and hamster-faced geek, Nigel Williams.
P.S. This Side of the Truth lawyers, Fungelstein Bodgit and Lim require me to point out that the esteemed Mr CK has never been arrested for any violent crime in any country anywhere in the world ever. Also, the photo makes him look less intelligent that he actually is.
Jason Bateman was furious with me for blogging the details of his botched sex-change operation and out of control drug abuse. He burst into my trailer fuming and shouting "I'm not high, I'm drunk. I'm fucking drunk OK? Drunk."
He then started to take of his trousers mumbling "I'll show you a fucking sex-change. They fucking butchered me and you think it's funny. I was teen wolf you mother-fucking limey"
"Well, teen wolf too" I said.
"How are you spelling the too bit? he snapped. "T double O" I replied. "Good," he said, a little calmer.
Then, tearful he thanked me for casting him and left. He may have left without his trousers but he left with his fucking dignity god damn it.
I captured the moment on my iPhone.
CASTING UPDATE.... ...Jason Bateman is the latest addition to join the cast.
"I'm a huge fan of Jason" says Ricky. "I love his acting style and he's a lovely guy. When he kept calling me and begging to have a walk-on part in the film I said yes immediately. Well, I said, 'why are you so desperate?' first."
Apparently "Master Bateman" as he likes to be called, has spent his amassed wealth on crack and a botched sex change operation.
Now he has what he calls, "a mess down there", but he doesn't care as he is permanently "out of it".
Week four - March 2008
So according to imdb.com we are the 1375th most talked about film this week.
That's not good enough!
I want to be in the top 100.
I'll teach them to enter me into a popularity contest.
Go to imdb.com and click on This Side of the Truth about 800 times each. That should do it. We'll see who's more popular won't we. WON'T WE!
I was never any good with a Rubik's cube.
At least, I doubt I would have been any good at it if I'd have actually tried. But that's not the point.
You know how if wanted to change one square you might have to do about 15 moves because of all the knock on effects? Well that's like fucking scheduling a fucking film.
One thing changes and you have to make thirty phone calls and spend an extra 50 fucking grand and stay at work for an extra two bastard hours (Not me obviously but I feel for the rest of the crew.)
I went into comedy to avoid work.
Even this blog is a headache.
When I was filming Ghost Town, which was my first lead in a Hollywood film (an opportunity most people would give their right arm for), I moaned.
I was interviewed by the BBC on set and I even moaned on camera.
Some rival New England news outlets are trying to stir up trouble between me and the good people at the Lowell Sun.
These miscreants, who shall remain nameless, suggested that I insulted the local Lowell tabloid and that the editor replied with a threat to have me whacked.
May I point out that we were BOTH JOKING.
And to the Lowell Sun, don't listen to them. I'll give you an exclusive before we move out of your lovely parish.
My thanks to the guys at fabfunk for putting us straight in at number 3 in the film news chart. I demand a re-count.
See? We're not just big in Lowell.
Louis CK, who is from this neck of the woods is also getting written about...
... And now he's getting ready to try his hand at full-on acting in Ricky Gervais' upcoming This Side of the Truth (co-written with Matthew Robinson), which begins shooting next month. The film has a gigantic cast (Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, to name a few) and Louis has a fairly central role. "I play the best friend. A big dummy," he said. "[In the role,] I'm sort of a big, stupid idiot." ...
And here's a nice clip of Louis in action. It's the effort I admire.
How do you like our logo? You hadn't noticed? Well look now. You don't really care either way? Good. That's what we were aiming for.
So, a final bit of casting news is that Stephen Merchant and Shaun Williamson will rekindle their on-screen partnership with a small cameo in the movie.
Barry, I mean Shaun, will play my father. Yes I know he's about my age but it's a flash back and he does look a bit like me. Stephen on the other hand looks like no one I've ever met.
I have no news at all.
I just wanted to share this with the world.
I received this photo from Christopher Guest in an e-mail a few moments ago.
He wanted to show me how he was preparing for his role in the movie next week.
I get things like this from him on a regular basis. It tells me 2 things. One, everything is OK in the world. And two, there is no pressure on me to grow up, just because I am in my 40s.
Week five - March/April 2008
As you can see my influence in Lowell is already being felt.
I hope to have a sign like this on every building before I leave.
The problem with a blog is I want it to be interesting.
Now I had a great day but I'm not sure it would be interesting to anyone else in the world.
We did our final shot list, picked out a moustache for Christopher Guest, confirmed a cameo I can't tell you about and I foolishly had salad for lunch.
What was I thinking? I was starving all afternoon. (There are people actually starving in the world so to use that term flippantly is wrong)
Yeah, I was starving, so I had two dinners to make up for it. Roast chicken then pasta.
I'm worried about continuity. If I were to suddenly lose weight the film would be ruined.
See, not very interesting at all.
Oh we had our US release of Ghost Town confirmed today too. It's September 19th. I think I'm more excited about that than I was about The Office or Extras. It's such a classy movie.
Well, you'll be the judge of that. The first trailer will surface in May.
Hello movie nerds.
This interview from last summer sees me refer to the film as "The other side of the truth".
It only had this title for a few weeks.
"This side of the truth" is better yes?
Another one we kicked around for a while was "The truth about lying". Please tell me we made the right decision.
Today, Ricky has been scouting for set locations in Lowell near Boston, MA...
In an homage to The Office, a video of Ricky shows him scouting locations for the film.
I had a couple of days in New York ahead of getting deep into production.
I think it is my favourite place in the world.
I put a few posters up of Karl Pilkington around the city and played with my chum number one Rob Steen.
He lives on the upper Westside and has a bald head I can squeeze.
It is not round like a fucking orange but it is quite a weird shape. It is more like an upside down pear.
(Although, like Karl, he had never really noticed this until I pointed it out; Glad to be of service.)
Rob does the Flanimals books with me, but we are not doing one this year as I'm too busy.
Unlike Karl, Rob was up for continuing to work, as he is not a lazy Manc twat.
Talking of work I am looking forward to shooting this movie so much now. I think we may have assembled the best comedy cast in the world today.
I hope they are as professional as me. Here's a clip of my cool calm direction.