Python's Eric Idle back with 'What About Dick?'(wink-wink)

Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:43pm EST
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Eric Idle has always failed to live up to his last name.

The comedian, actor, author, singer and songwriter has never stopped working since the iconic British comedy troupe Monty Python disbanded in 1982, even though he could have retired years ago, thanks to his hugely successful stage musical "Spamalot."

Still eager to push the envelope, Idle, 69, releases his new film "What About Dick?" for digital download on Tuesday.

Starring Idle along with such top British comedic talent as Russell Brand (as main character Dick), Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard, Tim Curry and Tracey Ullman, the film is both an homage to old-time radio plays and a poke in the eye to stuffy Edwardian costume dramas.

Idle spoke to Reuters about the film, why he is not part of "A Liar's Autobiography," - the new animated film about late Monty Python member Graham Chapman - and the perennial reunion rumors about the troupe.

Q: This not your usual comedy film. How would you describe it?

A: "I'd say it's about the decline and fall of the British Empire, as seen through the eyes of a piano. It's a play for comedians and not so serious that they can't mess with it. We shot it live with an audience of 2,000, so there's also a concert element to it, and it's pretending to be a radio play, with six or seven songs - some of which are filthy. It's full of innuendo but it's also very innocent."

Q: How did you get such a great cast?   Continued...

British actor Eric Idle performs during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium, August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Helgren