Brass Eye makes suicide bomber comedy
You may remember Chris Morris from the controversial Channel 4 satirical investigative show Brass Eye and The Day Today, and probably more so for the incredibly close to the bone show that saw him investigate the state of paedophilia, a show that resulted in enough complaints to put an end to the series.
Well now he's set to create a new film about suicide bombers in wait in a show that is described as the Dad's Army of terrorism. Yes I think there's some controversy due here too.
FilmFour is funding the British film which is currently being called Four Lions and will start production this summer. According to reports this follows the BBC refusing to take the project on as a television series, which The Independent through The Guardian claims was down to the controversial nature of the subject matter.
However don't be thinking that this is just a quick jovial stab at the topic, for like his television shows, Chris Morris has been investing a lot of time in genuine research of the topic. According to the report he has spent three years researching the film and talking to terrorism experts, police, secret services, imams and everyday Muslims.
Apparently, due to the difficulty of funding, he was even asking for cash donations from fans in order to gain a role as an extra in the film.
Morris was most known for the two shows Brass Eye and The Day Today. They had a habit of creating completely fictitious organisations and getting stars to make fools of themselves backing the cause which was so obviously faked, but the biggest moment was the paedophilia episode which had the media and the usual MP's jostling for column inches, all complaining about how he was trivialising the issue. They totally missed the satirical aspect of it all. I remember both shows to be particularly funny and also incredibly insightful and clever.
The idea of seeing Chris Morris creating a film of equal controversy, intelligence and comedy is something I'm really looking forward to. We just have to remember to laugh at ourselves and the terrible things around us once in a while.
Warp Films, a production company behind the film, said it...
"...understands how terrorism relates to testosterone. It understands jihadis as human beings. And it understands human beings as innately ridiculous."
I think that sums up the biggest thing Morris had to say on all his shows.
"Four Lions is a funny, thrilling fictional story that illuminates modern British jihad with an insight beyond anything else in our culture. It plunges us beyond seeing these young men as unfathomably alien. It undermines the folly of just wishing them away or alienating the entire culture from which they emerge. As Spinal Tap understood heavy metal and Dr Strangelove the Cold War, Four Lions understands modern British jihadis."
Diedre Steed worked with Morris on gaining the funding from the film and went on to describe the thoughts behind the film.
"Even those who have trained and fought jihad report the frequency of farce...At training camps, young jihadis argue about honey, cry for their mums, shoot each other's feet off, chase snakes and get thrown out for smoking. A minute into his martyrdom video, a would-be bomber looks puzzled and says 'what was the question again?' On Millennium eve, five jihadis set out to ram a US warship. They slipped their boat into the water and carefully stacked it with explosives. It sank...
...Terrorism is about ideology, but it's also about berks."
You know, I already have a smile on my face at that, and there's a great quote from Chris Morris at the end of the article:
"...some may find poking fun at terrorists offensive". But, he said: "Most of us would dearly love to laugh in the face of our worst fears. Why aren't we laughing at terrorists? Because we don't know how to, until now."
There's always that saying that we should be laughing in the face of that which is serious, even tragic, because that is how we manage to get through it. Laughter is a great healer and something that can bring so many of us together, but I really can't see everyone taking to this film, or even just letting it get released without some controversy.