Legendary British-American actor and director Terry Gilliam of “Monty Python” fame is not afraid to push back on politically correct notions promoted by his counterparts in Hollywood. In his latest comments taking aim at progressive premises, the 79-year-old “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” director slammed the idea that only people with the right sexuality, gender identity or race can play certain roles.
“In Hollywood, there’s a lot of pressure if you’re going to have a transgender character, then you have to have a transgender actor — it’s ridiculous,” Gilliam told AFP Friday. “If you’re going to have a serial killer then you’ve got to have a serial killer actor who has killed many people? It’s illogical.”
Referencing actress Zoe Saldana (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avatar”), who was recently “pilloried” for darkening her skin to portray soul singer Nina Simone, Gilliam said, “If I’m going to play an Italian on film I’ll darken my skin, I’ll try to look Mediterranean.”
“This is such superficial nonsense,” said the director.
This certainly isn’t Gilliam’s first time going against the PC grain. In July 2018, Gilliam stirred up some controversy by offering a trolling response to the controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning stating that “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” would never fly today. “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes,” said BBC’s Shane Allen. “It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.”
“It made me cry: the idea that … no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show,” Gilliam said at a film festival press conference in early July, as reported by The Guardian.
“Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented,” said the “Time Bandits” director. “This is bullsh**. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world. I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta, and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”
“[Allen’s] statement made me so angry, all of us so angry,” he added. “Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that everyone is represented.”
In April, Gilliam returned to his PC perpetual “offense” theme in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Asked if he believes there’s a difference between British and American humor, Gilliam told the Journal, “I always felt the British are very good at laughing at themselves; the Americans are better at laughing at other people.”
“I still think it’s pretty true, but it’s changing because now we can’t laugh at anybody because it causes offense,” he added. “There’s a kind of egotism out there: ‘Oh, they were making fun of me,’ Never heard of you. I’m making fun of an idea.”
Asked about his response to Allen’s comments about “six Oxbridge white blokes,” Gilliam explained, “The idea is that we’re already excluded because the world has changed. I said, I’m tired of being, as a white male, blamed for everything that’s wrong in the world. So now I want you to call me Loretta. I’m a black lesbian in transition.”
The “Loretta” reference, he said, was to the famous Monty Python film “Life of Brian” (1979). “People now might take offense at that,” Gilliam remarked. “And when offense becomes so easy, it takes the fun out of offending!”
In March 2018, the director also pushed back against another idea that Hollywood has embraced, the “believe all women” excesses of the #MeToo movement. While he would go on to condemn Harvey Weinstein as a “complete monster,” Gilliam also suggested that some of the women who allegedly had sex with Weinstein had done so in order to promote their careers.
In his conversation with AFP Friday, Gilliam demonstrated that he doesn’t disagree with all of the Left’s premises by taking shots at Donald Trump and calling for more action to combat climate change.