I recently went back to Monty Python for a refresher course — I’ve always loved the troupe’s work, but some combination of cynicism and silliness in the air recently (I think that might be politics) made me want to revisit the comedy of John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and the late Graham Chapman.

I never knew much about the Pythons before Chapman’s death, caused by cancer in 1989, and in the years since I’ve always enjoyed learning more about the man: alcoholic, gay, bitingly dry, scathingly funny, and the absolute lynchipin of the entire Python experience. You can get a good bit of that just by watching many Python episodes with a critical eye (while all the actors dressed in drag, Chapman’s sexuality still shines through) but for a bit more info, there is this upcoming film A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman.

The film, which details Chapman’s personal and professional history, is a 3D affair animated by a collection of different artists, and the film’s very strange trailer makes it look like the best possible bio of Chapman. Whether it is or not it really is, I can’t say. Oh, and it isn’t safe for work at all, which is part of what makes it pretty wonderful.

Twitch has the trailer. Sadly we don’t have a release date to report.

The film is based on Chapman’s book A Liar’s Autobiography: Volume VI, and actually features Chapman reading much of the book, which is to say, narrating the film, and for cheap. (Makes me think of About a Son, the Kurt Cobain movie that is built on “narration” sourced from long interviews Cobain did before his death. This one looks like a lot more fun.)

John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam also contributed to the movie. I love this trailer, and hope the film is as much fun, and as unvarnished a look at Chapman, as it seems to be.

Graham Chapman, probably best remembered as ‘the dead one from Monty Python’, writes and stars in the animated movie of his own life story, A Liar’s Autobiography. He was born, he went to Cambridge and met John Cleese, he smoked a pipe, he became a doctor, he became a Python, he decided he was gay (well, 70/30, according to a survey he did on himself), he got drunk a lot, he stopped being drunk, he made some films, he had some sex (actually, a lot), and moved to Los Angeles. Finally, he was whisked up into space by aliens (although that might have been in a film).

Featuring recordings of Chapman that he made of his book in 1982 and matched with recorded sound from present, the film reunites members of the Monty Python troupe and brings Chapman back to life in a tour de force of animation through 17 different animation styles from 15 different animators.

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