Merchant’s ‘Office’ crosses the stream
The masses who have enjoyed America’s version of “The Office,” with Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson, should take a look at the British original, which arrives Tuesday on BritBox.
This was the antic vehicle that booted Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Martin Freeman into American box offices.
Merchant co-created the series with Gervais.
“I met Ricky when I was quite young, and because he’s got such an amazing talent and also is someone who people trust him to do things — maybe because he was older — the BBC trusted him in a way they’d never trusted some 20something guy,” recalls Merchant.
“We didn’t start out as writers. I always aspired to be a sitcom writer, but Ricky wasn’t, but just had the untapped talent. When I used to work with him in his office, he would say, ‘Have you ever met someone like this?’ And he would play out David Brent’s type of behavior. So he had this fragment of this idea.
“So I said to him when we had this opportunity to make a short film at the BBC, and I said, ‘We should make him into a character.’ So Ricky formulated him into this person. Ricky gave him the name. So he created the character really. I just helped him sort of corral him.”
The result was the hilarious Anglo version of “The Office,” with Gervais in the role that was later inherited by Carell.
Stars deliver inspirational messages at YouTube ceremony: A wide-ranging, star-studded lineup, including Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Tom Brady, offered inspirational messages in hopes of uplifting new graduates during YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual ceremony Sunday.
Beyonce delivered a stirring 10-minute speech to graduates. She spoke about the recent protests and shared her secrets to success and the importance of ownership.
Lizzo began the event with a rousing performance of “Pomp and Circumstance” before she congratulated graduates as the New York Philharmonic accompanied her.
Cynthia Erivo, Camila Cabello, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Ty Dolla $ign, Khalid and others collaborated to sing a rendition of U2’s “Beautiful Day.”
AMC inks deal with
Anne Rice: AMC has clinched a deal with author Anne Rice and her son to create new productions of her popular other-worldly novels. Her “Vampire Chronicles” and “The
Lives of the Mayfair Witches” series include 18 titles. AMC plans on making series, films and streaming shows from this “buried” treasure. Rice and her son, Christopher, will serve as executive producers on all of the projects.
“It’s always been my dream to see the worlds of my two biggest series united under a single roof so that filmmakers could explore the expansive and interconnected universe of my vampires and witches,“Anne Rice has said. “That dream is now a reality, and the result is one of the most significant and thrilling deals of my long career.”
June 9 birthdays: Comedian Jackie Mason is 92. Sports commentator Dick Vitale is 81. Actor Michael J. Fox is 59. Actor Johnny Depp is 57. Actress Gloria Reuben is 56. Bassist Dean Felber is 53. Actress Keesha Sharp is 47. Actress Michaela Conlin is 42. Actress Natalie Portman is 39. Actress Mae Whitman is 32.
Stephen Merchant, above, says he and Ricky Gervais, who co-created “The Office,” “didn’t start out as writers.”