Monty Python’s Terry Jones reveals why he hasn’t made a film in 18 years and whether there will ever be a new Monty Python film.
Shooting begins on Monday (March 24) on Absolutely Anything, a high-concept comedy starring Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale.
It marks the first time that Monty Python member Terry Jones has directed a film since The Wind in the Willows in 1996.
“I sort of gave up on the film industry when The Wind in the Willows wasn’t distributed,” Jones told ScreenDaily of the film that was critically well received but only received a limited relase. “It was so appallingly handled.”
While it is clear those wounds have yet to heal, Jones thought “it was about time” he made another film and is “very excited” to be back in the directors chair.
The comedy, co-written by Jones and Gavin Scott, stars Pegg as a disillusioned school teacher who suddenly finds he has the ability to do anything he wishes.
“We started it more than 20 years ago, but gave it up when Bruce Almighty came out with a similar premise,” said the 72-year-old director.
However, when producer Mike Medavoy recently asked Jones if he had anything of interest, the idea was revived.
Jones, who storyboarded the film, explained the story. “Aliens intercept Voyager as it leaves solar system and heads into intergalactic space. There’s a spaceship that looks like a Portuguese man o’ war that sucks it up.
“The aliens decide they want to test this human race and planet Earth and give one representative of the human race intergalactic powers to see if they use them for good or evil.”
Monty Python reunion
Jones, who is also starring in a revival of Monty Python on stage in July, reunited the comedy troupe to voice the aliens.
Having already finished the recordings, Jones said: “John Cleese voices the chief alien, Mike Palin voices the kindly alien, Terry Gilliam voices the nasty alien and I voiced the scientific alien. It was great fun.” Eric Idle also lends his voice.
Jones previously directed the gang in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. But asked if they would ever make another movie together, he said: “I don’t think so. Everyone is doing other things, like Terry Gilliam directing an opera. I don’t think there’s another one on the cards.”
The Absolutely Anything shoot will mainly take place at a defunct school in North London over seven weeks.
The cast also includes Underworld star Kate Beckinsale as well as British comedians Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Eddie Izzard and Joanna Lumley, alongside US comedy actor Rob Riggle. US comic Robin Williams provides the voice of Pegg’s loyal canine companion, Dennis.
Sales, production and finance company GFM Sales are handling worldwide sales.
Distribution has already been secured in German-speaking territories (Telepool, Senator), Scandinavia (Svenske), Iceland (Myndform), Australasia (Icon), CIS (Exponeta), Middle East (ECS), Poland (Cinephil/Monolith), Bulgaria (A Plus), former Yugolslavia (VTI), Thailand (Sahamongkofilm), Singapore (Shaw Renters), Malaysia (Rainfilm) and world airlines (EIM).
The film is being produced by Ben Timlett and Bill Jones at Bill & Ben Productions. Jim Acheson, the Oscar-winning costume designer of Man of Stell and Spider-Man, is on board to design the production’s costumes and sets, as well as the eclectic group of aliens. Acheson was production designer on Jones’ The Wind in the Willows.
Medavoy, who previously worked with the director on Life of Brian and Eric the Viking, will executive produce with Chris Chesser.
Visual effects will be handled by Nvizible, which has recently worked on Edge of Tomorrow, Muppets Most Wanted and Our Robot Overlords.