Interview: Ricky Gervais
Sep 25 2009 by Kate Whiting
He describes himself as a cottage industry. Ricky Gervais tells Kate Whiting about lying, laughing and his approach to work.
In new film The Invention Of Lying, which he wrote, directed and stars in, Ricky Gervais plays loser Mark Bellison who, though unlucky in love and work, is also the only person who can lie in an alternate reality where everyone tells the whole truth.
So when Mark goes to meet a beautiful blind date and asks her how she is, she takes one look at him and states matter-of-factly: “Depressed and pessimistic about our date.“
Surely even Gervais, known for playing socially awkward characters like David Brent in The Office and Andy Millman in Extras, can reach saturation point, when the insults start to hurt?
“No,” he laughs. “I love it and I don’t know if that’s because I’ve got no ego at all or such a big ego that nothing can hurt me. Someone insulting me makes me laugh,” he adds, suppressing a squeaky giggle.
The film boasts a talented cast, including rising star Jonah Hill as Mark’s suicidal neighbour, the “genetically-perfect“ Rob Lowe as his work and love rival, and cameos from Jason Bateman and his comedy writing partner, Stephen Merchant.
For all his success, Reading-born Gervais still finds it amazing that he’s become one of Hollywood’s golden boys.
“I can’t believe these people want to work with me. Truth is, I’m a bit of a chancer,” he adds, flashing that famously cheeky grin.
“I’m very lucky to be in this position and no one’s found me out yet!”