Black Mirror has long been a series about the horrors that could come from everyday technologies, be it artificial intelligence, video games, or virtual reality. But Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker is making a new project for Netflix, and he’s found all the horror he needs, as he is making a mockumentary about the year 2020 with Hugh Grant.
While discussing his recent role on HBO’s The Undoing with New York Magazine, Hugh Grant let the news slip about the upcoming project. Grant doesn’t make it sound like he’s a major part of the series, however, since he makes it seem like his part could be filmed in one day. Grant states that he’s playing a repellant historian who wears a wig, but that’s all we know so far about Grant’s part in the mockumentary.
Despite his recent work in techno-dystopias, Charlie Brooker actually has a pretty deep history with the news, making this new show with Hugh Grant seem like a perfect fit. Brooker wrote for The Guardian for a decade, and wrote for various tech news programs. Initial reports of this new project make it sound like several programs Brooker has done for BBC. In 2009, he created Newswipe, a comedic series about current affairs, while from 2010 through 2016, he did yearly Wipe specials wrapping up the events of the year. Brooker has done several similar programs throughout the year, most recently with Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe airing in May of 2020, about the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.
Earlier this year, Netflix invested in Broke And Bones, the production company from Black Mirror creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones. The deal would allow Netflix to potentially acquire Broke And Bones in bits and pieces over the next five years. While Netflix hasn’t even confirmed Brooker’s new series with Hugh Grant, it seems likely that this would be Brooker’s first project under this new deal with Netflix.
While all of the details of this deal between Broke And Bones aren’t unclear, it does seem like this might lead to new projects from the Black Mirror team outside of just more new episodes. This mockumentary with Hugh Grant lines up with the fact that Broke And Bones hired Jon Petrie to be their company’s comedy chief. Broke And Bones have also hired Russell McLean, who produced Bandersnatch. McLean is said to be working on more interactive projects, similar to what Black Mirror did with Bandersnatch. This seems to be something Netflix is particularly interested in, considering the streaming service followed Bandersnatch with another interactive special, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs the Reverend.
Even though it sounds as though Hugh Grant might be just one of many actors interviewed for Charlie Brooker’s new special, the actor has had a major career resurgence over the last few years. In 2017, Grant received newfound attention for his villain role in Paddington 2, as washed-up actor Phoenix Buchanan. In 2018, Grant appeared in A Very English Scandal, an Amazon limited series which earned Grant an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination. Earlier this year, Grant once again played a villain in Guy Ritchie’s latest, The Gentlemen, while the actor is getting some of the best reviews of his career for HBO’s The Undoing limited series, which just ended this week.
So far, Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones have made three seasons of Black Mirror for Netflix, while the first two seasons were made for Channel 4. Under Netflix’s ownership, Black Mirror has won eight Emmy Awards and won Outstanding Television Movie at the Emmys three years in a row. It’s unclear what the future of Black Mirror will be, considering Brooker and Jones’ new production company does put the rights to future seasons in a strange place. However, Brooker has even questioned earlier this year whether there should be a sixth season of Black Mirror, considering the mood of the world right now. Brooker said he would like to work on more comedic projects, the first of which seems to be this mockumentary with Hugh Grant.
But this new project with Hugh Grant and Charlie Brooker seems like a great next step for both of them. Brooker is looking for something more comedic to sink his teeth into, while Grant is once again and impressing audiences with his talents, giving this new project surely more viewers. Hopefully, together the two can find something funny amidst all the 2020 insanity.