Ricky Gervais says new project packed with laughs

Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:02pm EDT
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By Etan Vlessing

BANFF, Alberta (Hollywood Reporter) - Ricky Gervais insists "Life's Too Short," his new comedy pilot for BBC2, is long on laughs.

"It's the funniest thing we've done," Gervais said of his latest collaboration with Stephen Merchant, with whom he created "The Office" and "Extras."

The observational comedy stars Warwick Davis ("Star Wars," "Harry Potter") as a little person with "a small-man complex." Davis first grabbed the attention of Gervais and Merchant while performing in an episode of "Extras." While on set, he told the writing duo of his frustrations and real-life experiences living in a grown-up world at only 3'6" in height.

Davis' real-world experience includes using a broom handle to retrieve out-of-reach supermarket products, or being forever touched by ordinary people for good luck, as if he were a leprechaun.

Gervais and Merchant eventually approached the BBC to turn Davis' comedy material into a half-hour series, albeit one without the pathos of "The Office" or the drama of "Extras."

"He refuses to live his life as a disabled person. We're making him empowered but also give him these foibles," Gervais said of Davis' character.

Gervais, attending the Banff World Television Festival to receive a comedy award, will executive produce "Life's Too Short" along with Merchant and Mark Freeland.

<p>Executive producer Ricky Gervais laughs during a panel for HBO's "The Ricky Gervais Show" at the HBO sessions of the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California January 14, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>