THE INVENTION OF LYING
RICKY GERVAIS (Mark Bellison) makes his feature film directing debut with "The Invention of Lying," which he co-directed and co-wrote with newcomer Matthew Robinson, and which Gervais also produced. He recently starred in his first feature film, "Ghost Town," and has appeared in the "Night at the Museum" films, "Stardust" and "For Your Consideration." He recently completed filming on "Cemetery Junction," which he co-wrote, co-directed and produced with his longtime creative partner, Stephen Merchant.
A British comedian with expert delivery of bone-dry comedy, Gervais became famous for playing the egotistical and much-despised office manager David Brent on the BBC series "The Office," which, along with being one of England's best-loved sitcoms, went on to become a hit in the U.S. Gervais co-created the Golden Globe Award-winning series with Stephen Merchant, and Gervais himself earned a Golden Globe for Actor in a Lead Role - Comedy. The series also garnered three consecutive BAFTA Awards for Situation Comedy, and Gervais three BAFTAs for Best Comedy Perfomance.
Following the success of the series, NBC collaborated with Gervais and Merchant on an American remake of "The Office," which became a hit starring Steve Carell and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, and is nominated in the category again this year.
Venturing into a less mainstream realm with HBO, Gervais re-teamed with Merchant to co-create, produce and star in "Extras," casting himself in another hapless, chattering role--this time as a workaday acting extra in British film who often found himself embroiled in painfully hilarious encounters with major celebrities. His performance in "Extras" earned Gervais an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and a BAFTA Award for Best Comedy Performance.
Gervais grew up the son of a public housing laborer in Reading, England, and soon discovered his two most prominent talents: comedy and sloth. While in college, Gervais dropped his biology major, which proved far too taxing to handle, and started a pop band called Seona Dancing. The group released two singles that cracked the charts at 117 and 70. After he realized playing music wasn't his cup of tea, Gervais tried the business end by managing a band called Suede, to similar results. Gervais moved on to his first real job as an entertainment manager for the student union at University College London. After several years in an office environment, an experience that would later prove fruitful, Gervais landed a job as a DJ at the London radio station XFM. Immediately, Gervais demanded he have an assistant and was given Merchant's name. The two struck up a quick friendship, which later turned into a creative partnership when Merchant suggested that they work together.
Gervais moved from XFM to the BBC, taking Merchant along with him. In 1998, Merchant shot video of Gervais improvising and submitted it to station and network executives. The BBC liked the footage enough to set up a series, but ultimately dragged their feet. Meanwhile, Gervais starred as a bigoted news reporter on "The 11 O'Clock Show." Gervais went on to host "Meet Ricky Gervais," but found himself off the air after only a couple months. Then in 2001, the BBC finally picked up "The Office," but test marketing nearly killed the series. Luckily, the channel loved the series and aired it anyway. Despite focus group numbers comparable to women's hockey, season one of the show averaged 1.8 million viewers, and season two raked in 4.2 million, a 20 percent share of total viewership in the U.K.
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