Coogan & Brydon & Tristram Shandy

DATELINE: Early Teaming of Coogan & Brydon

 Cock & Bull.

If you truly want the roots of the duo of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, you need to go back to 2005 and the costume drama they almost made. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Storyis a fascinating Fellini-like motion picture. You will even hear music from Fellini’s 8 & a Half.

It is only ancillary about the Laurence Sterne novel. It is about trying to make a movie about it. From the opening scene of Rob and Steve in make-up having a witty repartee to the end of the film when they do their Pacino imitations after a viewing of rushes, you have the basic motif of theTrip pictures.

Tristram Shandy’s behind the scenes take over after nearly half-an-hour of the novel narrative. Debates brew about how to play it, amidst the personal crises of the actors. Roger Allam shows up as the thankless agent of Coogan.

Director Michael Winterbottom set the course five years before the first of the trip films. In Tristram, they argue over leading role status, their looks, and already Steve Coogan playing himself (in variation) has sex scandals brewing in the media.

Coogan plays Tristram and his father, as the film never really goes beyond his birth and early childhood. Rob plays his brother/uncle. When Steve arranges for Gillian Anderson to join the cast, it doubles Rob’s role. Steve’s ego is mortified at what he has done.

This is a semi-friendly rivalry that would be more fully studied in the four subsequent semi-fictional films in which they continued to play movie versions of themselves.

Octopus Battles Paparazzi

DATELINE: Movie Octopi

Over the years we have seen some major stars fight off unwanted cameras and the Paparazzi who chase them. For those unfamiliar with the concept: Paparazzi was a character in Federico Fellini’s movie 8 & a Half. He is both singular and plural as a proper name. We decry the pedants who refer to a Paparazzi as a paparazzo.

Where has movie history gone?

Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, and Charlie Sheen have given the invaders of privacy a black eye now and then, smashing lenses and giving fingers to ruin photo ops.

Now two underwater cameramen have found the denizens of the deep are as sensitive to surprise attack photo bombing as the biggest red carpet stars. Here you will find two minutes of a putative trailer showing the fight for photo rights.

So it was off the California coast this week when a giant octopus attacked a camera. We haven’t seen such excitement since Kirk Douglas fought the giant squid in the Jules Verne classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

You did not have to go as deep for this adventure, all caught on video for those who appreciate the rights of privacy and watching Paparazzi do battle. Lady Di never had it so bad.

Usually at Carmel, California, the only big stars with a temperament might be Kim Novak and Clint Eastwood, but the Garbo of the underwater set now joins the circus.

The fight to repel the cameras always fails, leaving the subject facing an embarrassing mugshot on YouTube.

So it is even with octopi. This octopussy may have thought he was up against James Bond, but his fifteen minutes of fame have left his suction cups empty.