Leaderboard ad

Passionfruit ads

Monday 2 May 2011

Angry Boys: Chris Lilley's next cult hit

It's hard to pinpoint what's most exciting about the TV new series Angry Boys.

Firstly, knowing we will see the comedic genius that is Chris Lilley on the small screen again (and that we'll be introduced to four completely new characters!).

Equal first is seeing whether the finished product (12-parts, half hour each) lives up to the massive hype. (It will).

The magnitude of this new TV project is something to behold: Angry Boys is bigger in every way than the two previous series - created by Chris Lilley and his long-time producing partner Laura Waters, from Princess Pictures - We Can Be Heroes (2005) and Summer Heights High (2007).

This time, there were three broadcasters in three different countries to keep happy, and this time (in an Australian first) HBO was a co-producer (the US broadcaster has a reputation for edgy programming - Sex & The City, Entourage, True Blood). And Angry Boys was already a pre-sale to the UK's BBC, renowned for their distinctly British comedies.

It is the first time in Australia that a partnership of this magnitude had been made to acquire a show. And the brokering was something else: 17 lawyers in three different countries over many months of negotiating, which means Angry Boys will be seen across the globe within weeks of its Aussie premiere (Wednesday May 11).

Says producer Laura Waters: "One of the biggest challenges in making a Chris Lilley series is to keep the show, its characters and plot, a secret. With so many locations, so many extras and the ease with which information can travel on a global scale, it was a massive accomplishment that confidentiality was kept. Everyone involved in the show wanted to keep the surprises for the audience".

Filmed like a documentary, the production of Angry Boys takes attention to detail to a whole new level.

To create the six characters, Chris and Laura brought together the same team of collaborators from the previous two series, with the team building the worlds of two of the characters who live in global locations (Jen Okazaki in Japan, and S.mouse in Los Angeles - more on the other characters later).

More than 3500 people were auditioned for roles (both actors and non-actors) from Australia and overseas, to find the right fit for the 89 main roles and 1228 extras. More than 850 scenes were lit and shot over the duration of filming in over seventy locations.

Authenticity was of paramount importance: still photographs of the characters from their childhoods, for example, were meticulously planned and designed to ensure that every detail was correct.

Another example: hundreds of extras were called to a major shopping centre to be the actual 'audience' for S.mouse's live performance (only on-screen for seconds), and fully produced songs were mastered and large-scale music video shot for S.mouse's hit singles.

Chris has even written and composed the theme music and all the songs for Angry Boys. The music was recorded with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, with Chris on grand piano for some pieces. As in previous series, Bryony Marks arranged the theme music with Chris and also composed all the incidental music.

And so, the series itself: shot in a mock documentary style, Angry Boys explores what it means to be a 21st century boy.

Lilley plays all six characters: Gran Ruth Sims, a juvenile justice centre worker, twins Daniel and Nathan Sims (who featured in We Can Be Heroes), black rapper S.Mouse, surfer dude Blake Oakfield, and Japanese mum Jen Okazaki - mother of a "gay" skateboarding champion.

Gran has been garnering some pre-show press with her racist retorts. Examples:

"Get your lazy Abo a... off the couch," she says to one of the young detainees.

During a soccer match at the centre, she yells: "Kick it negro... Come on Coco Pops, I thought wogs were meant to be good at soccer."

Lilley has said about Gran: "To me it's very clear this character is from another generation and is getting away with horrific things. Her behaviour is not appropriate. To me, that's so blatantly obvious that it's really funny."

There will be criticism by those who don't 'get it.' Indeed, Lilley has said he is not worried about that: "I make it for the people who love it and get it."

ABC TV Executive Head of Content Creation, Courtney Gibson says “The scripts are absolutely terrific: once again Chris is pushing comedy and character somewhere really challenging and ambitious. Moving forward with HBO and the BBC as partners means the series will play on the world stage right after we premiere it here in Australia.”

Sue Naegle, President, HBO Entertainment has said, “Chris Lilley combines a wicked sense of humour with fearless insights into human nature, which gives his comedy a universal appeal. We were thrilled to share Summer Heights High with the U.S. audience and are sure that Angry Boys will connect with our subscribers and the media.”

Interviewing Chris in 2005 for his pre-show press for We Can Be Heroes, I found myself chatting with a modest, almost shy man. Excited by what I'd seen on preview disks, I spoke with someone who clearly deflected his comedy genius (even the NineMSN ads screening at the time, where he played the 'MSN Butterfly', were funny). Indeed, the 36 year old is now renowned for his reticence for publicity and interviews.

Three years in the making, Lilley has his fans champing at the bit for a glimpse of Angry Boys.

You will have to wait until next week for full eps.

In the meantime, these clips (true fans will have no doubt already seen them) will whet your appetite: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/angryboys/video/clips.htm

Angry Boys premieres on ABC1 on May 11 at 9pm.

UPDATED: see the episode two trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbAlbJKKgtE

No comments:

Post a Comment