Ricky Gervais has slammed the process of modern filmmaking as “very homogenised, safe, made by committee, and it’s the same as you got last month”.
Ricky is set to release his latest film ‘Special Correspondents’ this month on Netflix, and he says it’s like “a throwback film, like Laurel and Hardy. It’s a grown-up comedy.”
He compares it with much of today’s cinema fare, saying: “I think a lot of comedies now are gross out, lowest common denominator, and that’s because they want everyone to go to the cinema on the first day or it’s taken off the screen.
“So it’s very homogenised, very safe, people know what they’re getting, people don’t take chances any more, films are made by committee, and it’s the same as you got last month.
“I think there’s too much style over content, and that will never change. That will never change, the human condition is one person telling another person what happened, you can have all the special effects in the world, but for a human, it’s all about empathy.”
By contrast, Ricky says his characters aren’t deliberately funny, it’s the situation that’s funny. He says: “Someone who wants to be taken seriously is funny already. If you’re already an idiot, nothing bad can happen to you, whereas if you’re handsome, if you slip over, it’s devastating.”
‘Special Correspondents’ stars Ricky alongside Eric Bana, who appears as an arrogant radio journalist with his job on the line. With his job on the line, he fakes front line war reports from the comfort of his hideout above a Spanish restaurant in New York City.
Although the film pokes fun at the media, Ricky says he himself has few complaints about the way he is treated by the press.
He explains: “I didn’t get famous until I was 39, 40, so I knew the pitfalls and at least I was famous for something. I was wary. I never signed that contract with the press - make me famous and you can go through my bins.
“I read about me, and I realise that about 50% are wrong, not in a terrible way, but it’s just misinformation. So it makes me realise that about 50% of everything is wrong, and it's not even malice. So you have to take it with a pinch of salt. And it doesn’t matter with us, because we’re idiots. I never complain when they say I’m too young.
“I thought reputation was everything, and now I realise reputation is just what strangers think of you, and character is what you really are.
"Twitter is like every toilet wall in the world. You mustn’t worry about it. It’s fluff. You have papers to fill. It’s cool. This (‘Special Correspondents’) is different. It’s faking a war, slightly more serious than getting the name of my cat wrong.”
With Netflix scooping up the rights to his film, it’s clear Ricky is a fan of the streaming service and the freedom it brings him.
“Netflix will mean the return of the auteur, because you made the movie you wanted," he says. "They’ve cut out the middle man of competing at the cinema, of compromising like they would if were making a commercial.
"The important thing is that I was left alone. And usually to get that luxury, I go to fringe channels, I’ve made some smaller films and TV, but I go to BBC2, not BBC1, but with Netflix coming along, it’s the best of both worlds, and the sky’s the limit in terms of how many people can watch it.”
Despite Ricky’s success, he insists that real success comes with creative freedom, saying:
“If you get your own way and it turns out like you’re wanted, you’re bullet-proof. I don’t care, I’ve made my thing and moved onto the next thing.
“The more famous you get, the more people love you and hate you. Do what you want, and as well as you can, and it will all be okay.”
'Special Correspondents' is available on Netflix from 29 April 2016.