"Conchords" star Clement takes wing in new movie

Mon Nov 2, 2009 7:40pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - New Zealand comedian Jemaine Clement is best known as one-half of musical duo Flight of the Conchords, but in the movie "Gentlemen Broncos" he takes wing on his own playing an ego-driven science fiction author.

Clement has already made his mark in television and music, earning an Emmy nomination this year for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for his role in cable network HBO's "Flight of the Conchords," which is based on his Grammy winning band.

But Clement's success in the show about two New Zealand musicians who move to New York to start a music career has been shared with Conchords bandmate Bret McKenzie.

Setting out on his own, Clement hopes to broaden his appeal to U.S. audiences with his role in film comedy "Gentlemen Broncos," from "Napoleon Dynamite" writer and director Jared Hess. The movie opened in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and expands to major cities such as Boston, Chicago, San Francisco in the coming few weeks.

On two-year-old "Flight of the Conchords," Clement dreams up his own funny songs and scripts with McKenzie, but the actor told Reuters he enjoys letting someone else do the writing.

"Things like 'Gentlemen Broncos' are even more fun, because someone's already thought of all that stuff, and I just slip into it and try to realize their idea," he said

Clement plays sci-fi author Ronald Chevalier, a shady egomaniac with a distinctive voice that stands out for being authoritative yet affected, deep yet undulating and, in short, like something from outer space -- with a British accent.

Clement said he modeled the voice on actor Michael York from the 1976 sci-fi movie "Logan's Run," and on one of his university professors, who also wrote science fiction.   Continued...