Ricky Gervais ready to rumble as host of Golden Globes 2012

January 13, 2012

Hosting the Golden Globe Awards has become his “extreme sport,” Ricky Gervais said Friday, a couple of days before his third crack at the annual trophy show on NBC.

Appearing at Winter TV Press Tour 2012, Gervais insisted that he “stands by . . . every joke I did last year, and I don’t care what people think” of his performance as host of the 2011 Globes.

So will Gervais tone it down Sunday? “I’ve got nothing against any of these people in the room,” he said. “I’ve worked with many of them. I admire most of them. They’re just gags. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings or give them a bad night or undermine the moral fabric of America.”

Many TV critics seemed surprised that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association asked Gervais back — after the shellacking he gave celebrities last January as he hosted this most fawning of awards ceremonies.

Gervais said that he accepted the HFPA’s first invitation because he thought it would be good exposure, and he accepted the second invitation because he thought he could do better while vowing it would be his last time.

But he accepted a third time because he kept reading reports that said, “I’ll never be invited back” after last year’s brouhaha. “So I did it to annoy them.”

On the other hand, Gervais also said he “dropped a line” to Johnny Depp to apologize for his Globe ceremony cracks about Depp — and about “The Tourist,” Depp’s flick with Angelina Jolie. “I said, ‘Sorry about the Globes — do you want to get a bit of your own back?’ ”

Gervais wanted Depp to appear on “Life’s Too Short,” which stars 3-foot-6 actor Warwick Davis as a pretty despicable, down-and-out little person desperately trying to hustle his way back into the biz.

In much the same way Gervais’s original “The Office” reflected the ’90s with its “quaint docu soaps,” his new celebrity-strewn “Life” is much more up to date. “Life’s Too Short,” which debuts Feb. 19 on HBO, reflects an age in which “people do anything to be on television,” are willing to live their lives “like an open wound,” and “fame” and “infamy” mean the same thing, Gervais said.

“There is no shame in anything,” he told TV critics. “You can’t do something that’s so ridiculous that it isn’t happening in Hollywood. It’s literally impossible.”

HBO’s ‘Game Change’

“I certainly have a profound respect for the historical nature of her candidacy,” Julianne Moore told TV critics Friday about playing former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in HBO’s movie “Game Change,” which debuts March 10.

The movie follows Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign from his selection of the then-Alaska governor as his running mate, through their defeat in the general election. Ed Harris plays McCain, and Woody Harrelson plays Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior campaign strategist.

Moore said she hired a vocal coach because Palin “has an incredibly idiosyncratic way of speaking.” She read books written by Palin, her staff and the book “Game Change,” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, on which the movie is based.

But Moore also watched “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” — the TLC docu-soap reality series about Palin and her family — to learn more about the family.

“The family dynamic,” Moore said, “very frankly is adorable. She is a very caring parent.

“It’s a daunting task to play somebody who is not only a living figure, but hugely well-known,” Moore acknowledged. “The most important thing is accuracy. We are all very familiar with her and those iconic moments. It was just four years ago.”

She called Palin’s situation “a pretty extraordinary one,” having been “suddenly thrust into international politics. We have her displaying moments of sheer brilliance,” including her unveiling at that GOP convention, when “the country collectively gasped.”

“She was so charismatic, so able to communicate” and so different from the “highly educated white men” who usually dominate presidential campaigns, Moore said.

“But of course, upon further inspection, she didn’t necessarily have the experience necessary [to become the] potential president of the United States,” Moore said.

During the Q&A session, one critic said that the movie was much more “Manchurian Candidate” than he’d expected and wondered how much license the creators had taken.

“Game Change” writer Danny Strong and director/exec producer Jay Roach said those scenes are based on material in the book and on interviews they’d done with most of the people in the book (Strong did not interview Palin or McCain), as well as interviews Strong conducted with people involved in the GOP campaign who are not featured in the book.

Roach said he wrote a long letter to Palin explaining the project and asking to interview her. “I got a quick e-mail from her attorney: ‘I checked, and she declined,’ ” Roach said.

In this age of 24/7 news channels, politics has “become entertainment,” Strong said, calling the movie a look at the blurring of celebrity and politics.

“This was . . . almost Shakespearean or a Greek tragedy,” Roach added.

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