By Sharon Eberson / Friday Sept. 19
You can't miss Ricky Gervais these days - he's even seeing and being seen by dead people.
That's in his film that opens today, "Ghost Town," also starring Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni. You also may have caught Gervais on the original U.K. version of "The Office" or HBO's "Extras" - for his "Extra's" role as Andy Millman, he won an Emmy last year as best comedic actor and is up for the same award again at Sunday's 60th Emmys ceremony. Or you may know him from his widely popular podcast, which, according to the 2007 "Guinness Book of World Records," is the most downloaded podcast ever, the most downloaded podcast, at an average of 261,670 downloads per episode, for which Gervais nicknamed himself "The Podfather."
Not only does he have a new movie to promote, but he's out on his own much of the time. Kinnear has another movie, "Flash of Genius," opening Oct. 3, and Leoni is keeping a low profile as her husband, actor David Duchovny, does rehab for either sex or Internet porn addiction, take your pick. Anyway, Gervais seems to be a one-man show on the "Ghost Town" promo tour, and he also seems to be having a blast, particularly on Conan O'Brien's late-night show, with Samuel L. Jackson in the adjacent seat promoting "Lakeview Terrace."
Even as just a sight-gag, Gervais, Jackson and O'Brien were a kick to watch.
It's the "Tombstone"/"Wyatt Earp", "Capote"/"Infamous" syndrome, and it seems to happen often in Hollywood. Dueling movie projects happening almost simultaneously, with one trying to beat the other to the punch.
Add to the already intriguing Robert Downey Jr. vs. Sacha Baron Cohen Sherlock Holmes projects the casting of their respective Dr. Watsons. Cohen is to be joined on the hunt by Will Ferrell. Now comes word that Downey, whose Holmes' film is to be directed by Guy Ritchie, will may be paired with Jude Law.
Daily Variety reports that Law is expected to sign for the part shortly, and Ritchie denied that Russell Crowe was lined up for the role after reports surfaced earlier this month.
Production is slated to begin next month in London.
As might be expected of the other film, with Cohen and Ferrell, there are comic roots: It's being written by Etan Cohen ("Tropic Thunder") and produced by Judd Apatow and Jimmy Miller. Cohen and Ferrell played rival racecar drivers in "Talladega Nights," which Apatow and Miller also produced.
Also in the pipeline now: dueling Charles Darwin projects.
Joseph Fiennes and Rosamund Pike will play Mr. and Mrs. Darwin, as will the real-life Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly. The latter production is already in production.
I'm sure there's something to be said here about survival of the fittest . . .