In what appears to be something completely different and wildly creative, the animated feature, A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, “in lewd, crude 3D,” will be premiering on EPIX and in select theaters on November 2, 2012. The film is based on Chapman’s fictionalized memoir “A Liar’s Autobiography, Volume VI,” which was first published in Britain in 1980 and credits four other authors. Michael Cieply of The New York Times reported that he recorded himself reading his book in a single evening at the studio of Chapman’s friend, singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, before Chapman passed away from cancer on October 4, 1989, at the age of 48 (which shows incredible foresight since audio books were not de rigueur then and also since postmortem audio engineering is so interminably difficult).
The film uses Chapman’s narration to interact with new dialogue by fellow Pythons John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, who play various characters and sometimes themselves, in what is billed as their first reunion in 23 years. Apparently, Eric Idle did not participate but he did write an afterward to Chapman’s book when it was re-published in 1991 and which appears in all subsequent reprintings. On a side note, Comedy Moontower was utterly tickled to see Idle singing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian at the 2012 Olympic Games in London since the film initially caused such an unwarranted “blasphemous” kerfuffle in the UK.
The Pythons have been the most influential comedy (and sketch comedy) group since BBC One aired Monty Python’s Flying Circus from 1969-1974. A Liar’s Autobiography should be a massively entertaining trove for both Chapman/Python fans as well as animation aficionados— the film features 17 different animation styles from 14 animation studios. In typical dark and surreal Python-esque fashion, the trailer even boasts a plug from Chapman claiming A Liar’s Autobiography is, “The best film I’ve been in since I died.”