Yes, We Have Several Questions For Ben
Australian production company Working Dog is preparing a new comedy feature film, its first since 2000′s The Dish. It’s called Any Questions For Ben?
Co-written by Rob Sitch, Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner and directed by Sitch, it began shooting in October 2010, when it went by the working title 25.
Josh Lawson (The Librarians, Chandon Pictures), Christian Clark (Neighbours, Home and Away) and Daniel Henshall (Snowtown) star as three young bro-dudes in their mid-twenties (hence the working title), living it up in Melbourne’s restaurants, bars and clubs.
Taylor and Lawson have been dividing their time between Australia and the US. Taylor has been riding high in Hollywood with an eight-episode guest appearance on Grey’s Anatomy and a role in the new Charlie’s Angels. Lawson, however, has had less luck, co-starring in the critically savaged Alyssa Milano sitcom Romantically Challenged, which was commissioned for 13 episodes, produced six and screened only four before ABC canned it.
The Enthusiast would like to thank Working Dog for the opportunity to ask Ben a few questions. First: after a feature filmmaking hiatus of nearly 12 years, will the production team still have the magic that made The Castle (1997) the kind of cult classic you’d take straight to the pool room?
After all, it’s only their third cinema release. Frontline and The Hollowmen still stand up as blue-chip TV satire, and The Panel and Thank God You’re Here were fresh and zeitgeisty when they debuted. Even Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever was plenty of fun.
But Working Dog disappointments such as Funky Squad and Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures, and their recent series of Jetlag travel guide parodies (Molvania, Phaic Tan and San Sombrero), all show that taking the piss can be pretty lazy, too.
The Dish (2000) is perhaps not the best indication of what Working Dog can do. It just showed that, given a bigger budget, they could produce the same kind of retro sentimentality that marred Richard Curtis’s crate of crappy ’60s clichés, The Boat That Rocked.
Our second question for Ben is whether these ageing jesters, whose best work is fondly remembered by Gen-X, are adequately equipped to say something shrewd about Gen-Y hedonism. There’s nothing wrong with pitching to a younger audience, but there’s also something to be said for writing what you know.
Third, naturally, we are wondering whether Ben will buck the trend of Australian big-screen comedy by not being shit.
We hope so. After all, these guys took the piss out of professional wogs 20 years ago… meanwhile, Big Mamma’s Boy just opened in cinemas last week, while last year’s Kings of Mykonos had the tenth biggest opening weekend in Australian box office history.
Any Questions For Ben? is out on Australia Day 2012 through Roadshow.
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