Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tarantino gets his Django, and Gervais' "Life's Too Short" heading to HBO

If it's true, as has been suggested, that the racial language (I think you know what I mean) scared off first Will Smith and then maybe Idris Elba too from "Django Unchained," that's areal shame, because having read the script, I can guarantee it has the potential to be among Quentin Tarantino's very best movies.

And while Elba would have been my definite first choice, it seems that Tarantino has found his Django, and it's a sold second (or I guess third) choice in Jamie Foxx.

With that out of the way, and Christoph Waltz, one Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson too all cast, the only major part left is that of Django's enslaved wife, Broomhilda (yes, really).

So, what's this all about? Well, it's a grand tale about a German bounty hunter (Waltz, natch), Dr. Schultz, who frees the slave Django (Foxx) to help him in his quest as a bounty hunter who has a particular interest in taking out slave owners. They eventually cross paths with the big bad, Calvin Candie (DiCaprio), who runs a mandingo fighting ranch called Candyland (again, yes, really) and is Broomhilda's owner.

And what's great about the script? Plenty. The dialogue, principally between Schultz and Django, is Tarantino sharp throughout, and it's used to set up some set pieces that should rival the best scenes in "Inglourious Basterds" (though nothing will match the burning face of Melanie Laurent in that theater .. priceless.) Best of all should be the last half hour or so, which is just packed with tension as Schultz and Django arrive at Candyland in the guise of mandingo buyers to rescue Broomhilda.

As I said, pretty much by force, just about every page of the script is littered with a certain word that begins with the letter n, but it also sets up something potentially great for 2012, so definitely stay tuned for more just as soon as I can find it.

And after that today, it's all about great comedy, starting with a fantastic partnership and closing with great news about Ricky Gervais and Warwick Davis.

If I were to list the 10 or so people who most make me laugh, Gervais would definitely be on it, but so too certainly would Armando Iannucci and Steve Coogan. And now comes word that the latter duo have teamed up for what should be some really big laughs.

Iannucci has joined Baby Cow, the independent production company founded by Coogan and Henry Normal, as the company's creative director. Iannucci is the mastermind of "The Thick of It" and the fantastic movie satire "In The Loop" that sprang it (featuring what still stands as the most gloriously profane turn of all time with Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker.)

And Iannucci is currently at work on something for HBO that could be potentially very funny, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in "Veep," a hopefully sharp satire in which she plays the vice president of the United States.

As for his previous work with Coogan, the duo combined to create what is still his best character, the epicly clueless Alan Partridge. You could easily spend an entire day watching the Alan Partridge archive on YouTube, but here's just a sweet little taste, Partridge singing a great Kate Bush medley for Comic Relief. Yes, really.

What will they come up with next? Who knows for sure, but I do know the company currently has a 12-month partnership with the BBC to develop new comedy scripts, so perhaps we'll find out very soon.

And finally today, in great news for anyone who, like me, subscribes to HBO, the inevitable word has come down that "Life's Too Short," the series that Gervais is cooking up with little man extraordinaire Warwick Davis, will be coming to HBO sometime in 2012.

No word yet on when exactly that will be, but this faux documentary about Davis' life should be nothing but a hoot, so I'll let you know as soon as I find out anything solid. In the meantime, here's the show's first trailer, which isn't nearly as funny as it could be, but still gives you a taste of what's to come. Enjoy, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.

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