Phoenix Pictures the company that produced Black Swan is also the home for Terry Jones first feature film as director since his wonderful retelling of The Wind in the Willows in 1996. I recently got a chance to catch up with the incredibly busy and exceedingly diverse Welshman and ask him a few questions.
Steve: I’ve found it quite a helpful tool in life to gauge whether I’m going to get on well with someone if they express a liking for Monty Python those that don’t, or look at me blankly, I usually don’t click with. Have you ever found your Python fame to be an obstacle or has it always been a door opener?
Terry: Well it’s usually been a door-opener. But I suppose when Erik The Viking came out everyone was expecting another Monty Python film and with Python you never suspend your dramatic disbelief – whereas for Erik you had to.
Steve: I recently read your book Who Murdered Chaucer? aside from the ‘Whodunnit’, or as you say ‘Wasitdunnatall’ central to the intrigue, the real eye-opener for me was the extent of the censorship under Henry IV; particularly with regards to the negative spin on the reputation of Richard II, the cousin who he usurped and had murdered. Do you think that despite the Internet and 24 hour news networks that we’re suffering from “information overload” and all the more susceptible to spin and misinformation?
Terry: Well I guess it’s nowadays easier for those who do the spinning to spin. In the Middle Ages you had to think “How do I get people to hear anything?” Not that it stopped them. They did everything they could to create propaganda. ~But it’s a bit easier now.
Steve: Unfortunately I missed The Doctor’s Tale but the idea utterly fascinates me, what was it like to write and direct your first opera and is it something you could see yourself doing again?
Terry: Well I really enjoyed the experience. It wasn’t really my first go at directing opera – Evil Machines was something of an opera – in that it was pretty well all sung. But yes I’d very much like to write an all-sung popular show…
Steve: I am among the many eagerly anticipating your return to the director’s chair with the Sci-Fi movie comedy Absolutely Anything, you let slip to me of Charlie Sheen’s involvement, is this going to be the true “winning” move that kick-starts his serious comeback? What more can you tell me about the film?
Terry: Well Phoenix Pictures have now decided that the villain being a US Army Colonel was putting investors off, so we’ve changed the villain into a Frenchman. So I’m not sure it’s going to kick start anything for Charlie.
I’m pleased to announce that Terry is now twittering @PythonJones
Absolutely Anything was released in the summer of 2015 starring Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale.
And now for something completely different…