Here are two facts. One, British sci-fi films are too few and far between. Two, the surviving members of Monty Python don’t get together as much as I want them to. Luckily, both of those grievances will be rectified with the upcoming comedy Absolutely Anything, from longtime Python director, and historical-minded grunt, Terry Jones. If you’re looking at the film’s first promo poster seen above, you might call Jones “the director who likes to wear women’s clothing now and again,” but we never like to assume things here at GFR. At least about women’s clothing.
This poster is one sliver of the mass of promotional material that piled up at this year’s European Film Festival, which ended this past weekend in Berlin. So far, the Phoenix Pictures and Bill and Ben Productions project has only been picked up by Telepool for German distribution. I think it’s safe to say Absolutely Anything will play absolutely everywhere by the time it’s ready for release, as this is one of the most internationally recognizable casts imaginable. (Even though some of them won’t actually be seen/recognized in their roles.)
The always amazing Simon Pegg plays a man named Neil Clarke, who is a school teacher that finds himself in a peculiar situation when he discovers he has magical powers. But he’s no mere maturing mutant or anything; he got these powers from aliens, and that’s where Jones, John Cleese, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam come in. This trio have been called upon to voice the aliens. As the poster tells us, Mojo the Dog will take on the canine role of Dennis, who will be voiced by Robin Williams. No doubt this will be the most manic dog ever put to film.
Jones wrote the screenplay with Gavin Scott, who is mostly known for children’s fare like The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Small Soldiers, though he also wrote the 2007 miniseries War and Peace. This is a tad less complicated than adapting Tolstoy’s epic, but it definitely does have talking aliens. Take that, Tolstoy.
Pegg knows a thing or two about alien-tinged sci-fi comedy, as he starred in Edgar Wright’s The World’s End last year, a film I could watch on repeat. Williams’ sci-fi expertise has been held to goofy films like Flubber and Bicentennial Man, though he did voice a non-giant freakin’ robot in 2005’s Robots. While the Monty Python team never quite gave it their all for a science fiction project, many of their more random sketches dipped in and out of the genre with ease. For instance, check out one of my favorite Flying Circus episodes, “You’re No Fun Anymore,” which contains the appropriately titled “Science Fiction Sketch.” Beware the Blancmange!