Saturday, March 27, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different...


Location: OR Tambo
Destination: Michaelhouse, Midlands, Kwazulu Natal
Assignment: Interview John Cleese, aka The Guv in Spud

So this assignment is only a plane ride, a scenic car drive and a ‘funny walk’ away. I am looking forward to meeting one of the world’s most revered actors and funniest comedians. John Cleese gave us Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Basil (I can still hear his wife in the series calling his name in her shrill tone) in Fawlty Towers and Archie Leach in A Fish Called Wanda. Oh, and he also married Karen in Will&Grace!

It took a lot of planning and coercing to get this interview. I have 20 minutes with him – but I will make them count. I was in Cannes when I first heard John Cleese was being lined up as the big name attached to the movie in the making. I had to keep it under wraps until it was confirmed a few months later. The first reaction from most people – including the author of the best-selling series himself – was that Cleese was the perfect person for the role. A match made in heaven. I want to know if Cleese himself felt this as well – in fact, how did he come to be involved in the project?

A few little Did-You-Know facts about The Cleese that I Did-Not-Know:

-         his family’s surname was originally Cheese, but his dad changed that when he went to the army
-         he is 70 years old (I knew he was somewhere in that bracket) and is dating a woman who is almost half that (39)
-         he has always been tall – at school at the age of 13 he was well over 6ft
-         he studied as a scientist and taught the subject at his former prep school
-         he was a rector at the University of St Andrews
-         his voice can be downloaded for directional guidance purposes as a downloadable option on some personal GPS-navigation device models by company Tom-Tom
-         He is apparently working on a stage play of A Fish Called Wanda

2 comments:

Brett said...

And, don't forget, Q in James Bond (for 2 movies at least). What a legend! I'm so chuffed for you! It's awesome!

Nadia said...

Never! ;)
Some people have said that he can be quite fussy, but I reckon, if you've been acting since you were 20 and you're now 70, you've kind of earned the right to be...and besides, I found him to be polite, funny and could have chatted to him for ages.