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September 1, 2014

Larry Charles & McG (Random!) Team Up for Semi-Scripted NBC Comedy

by Gary Susman, posted Nov 16th 2009 1:15PM
Who'd have guessed that Larry Charles - the mysterious director known for his ZZ Top beard and for aiding and abetting the comic provocations of Larry David and Sacha Baron Cohen - was a big ol' sci-fi fanboy?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Charles is working on two sci-fi-themed TV comedy pilots. In October, he signed on to rewrite the Fox pilot 'Boldly Going Nowhere,' a comedy set on a spaceship, the brainchild of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' creators Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton. And now, he's signed with 'Terminator: Salvation' director McG and NBC to co-produce a semi-scripted series, which Variety says revolves around a group of small-town sci-fi fans who make a fan-film version of their favorite canceled show.Who'd have guessed that Larry Charles -- the mysterious director known for his ZZ Top beard and for aiding and abetting the comic provocations of Larry David and Sacha Baron Cohen -- was a big ol' sci-fi fanboy?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Charles is working on two sci-fi-themed TV comedy pilots. He recently signed with 'Terminator: Salvation' director McG and NBC to co-produce a semi-scripted series, which Variety says revolves around a group of small-town sci-fi fans who make a fan-film version of their favorite canceled show.

Earlier, in October, he signed on to rewrite the Fox pilot 'Boldly Going Nowhere,' a comedy set on a spaceship, the brainchild of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' creators Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton.

Charles, of course, is used to semi-scripted, semi-improvised comedy, having directed Baron Cohen's 'Borat' and 'Bruno,' as well as several episodes of David's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' Charles will write, direct, and co-executive produce the untitled fan-film project, which David is calling a "prototype," rather than a pilot (which suggests that the version that finally makes it to the air may be very different.)

Describing the series to the Reporter, Charles said, "Our show is a show about us, depicting contemporary American life through the prism of a do-it yourself homemade aesthetic that will mix mediums to produce a modern mosaic of triumphs glories and absurdities that we all experience and recognize," Uh, OK.

Laughs aside, it sounds as if Charles is treating the fan-film phenomenon almost as seriously as fan-filmmakers themselves do. After all, fan-film is a large underground movement, encompassing homegrown versions of genre favorites from 'Star Wars' to 'Xena: Warrior Princess.' The makers of the fan series 'Star Trek: Phase II' even got original 'Star Trek' stars Walter Koenig and George Takei to reprise their roles (as Chekov and Sulu) in guest spots.

Both Charles and McG (pictured, left) currently have a lot of TV projects in development. Besides his two sci-fi shows, Charles is also developing for Sony an ensemble comedy starring 'Curb' regular J.B. Smoove. McG, whose TV production credits include 'Chuck' and 'The O.C.,' is also developing a space Western and 'The Intruders' (Danny Comden's autobiographical culture clash sitcom), both for Fox, as well as scary-sounding 'Clive Barker's Hotel' for ABC.

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