Posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
I most definitely wasn’t alone in loving In The Loop when it played in UK cinemas earlier this year and now that it is about to hit US screens on Friday, the love seems to be welling up on that side of the Atlantic too. Expect, I think, to be hearing very, very positive things from David Chen, for example. One of the interviews that director Armando Iannucci has given to support this stateside rollout is with the AV Club, and in that he discusses his ambitions for a second movie rather unlike his first. Other than anything like the very verbally-driven In The Loop, he’s planning a visual comedy which he compares to the films of Buster Keaton. Quotes beyond the break.
Bear in mind that this interview was conducted back in January before In The Loop premiered at Sundance, so there should have been some progress made, if perhaps only slightly, since then.
On my next film, I want to do a slapstick kind of thing with lots of visual gags. So it would be the opposite of In The Loop, in a way. It wouldn’t be this sort of fly-on-the-wall style. It’ll be bigger, playing about with the visuals a lot more, and what you see on the screen. A chase and stuff like that.
We’re beginning to know the storyline, but it’ll take a while to just boil. We’ll get the story and then we’ll spend a lot of time working out what the gags are, the visual gags. But I’ve always loved silent movies and Buster Keaton, and I just love nonverbal comedy. One Week, where he assembles a house in seven days, and the train goes through it at the end. Or even, is it Steamboat Bill, Jr.? The one with the storm, he’s in a hospital and the storm blows the hospital away. You see this building disappear; it’s just great. So I like that, and I want to do something like that.
And, yes, we want you to do something like that too.
There was a large amount of visual comedy in a number of Iannucci’s previous projects, particularly The Day Today and The Armando Iannucci Shows, a couple of TV series he made in Britain. And his first cinema project, one of the short films in the Tube Tales anthology, hinged upon a purely visual punchline where Daniella Nardini projectile vomits in a packed underground train.
I’m very glad that Iannucci will be moving away from the faux-documentary stylings of Loop because dressing narrative fiction in documentary style shots is a fundamentally flawed conceit, I believe – even while being a conceit that he executes very, very well. Here’s hoping he executes his next picture just as superbly.
For further reading, you might want to read Iannucci’s 2006 tribute to Keaton from The Guardian.