Although notorious in his native England for the satirical shows 'Brass Eye,' 'Jam,' and 'The Day Today,' Chris Morris is probably best known in the United States for his appearances as Denholm Reynholm on 'The IT Crowd.' Now, as Morris' directorial debut, 'Four Lions,' prepares to open Stateside, we sat down with the filmmaker to discuss the inspiration behind his bumbling terrorist comedy, the transition from TV to film work, the role cultural sensitivity plays in making jokes about jihadists, and what it means for a certain American journalist to have made a "British mistake."
The inspiration for the film:
"With this, it was a case of stumbling into the idea. I had no idea there would be funny things going on within serious terrorist operations. It was only in reading about it and finding out that, time and again, people are... flawed. There was a Canadian cell. They were planning all kinds of nefarious deeds, and they were constantly sort of bumbling along as they were doing it. They bought guns and then suddenly realized they had to hide them, and didn't know where, so they buried them in a public park. When they went back to pick them up, they'd been nicked. They went into the woods to do training camp stuff around Toronto, but the leader of the cell set himself on fire whilst trying to add fuel to the campfire. A mouse ran into their tent, and two of them got scared and had to go sleep in the van. One of them invented a detonator that made sure they could set off a bomb without getting blown up, but it only had a range of 15 feet... Some of the incidents made me laugh, and I thought, if this is as surprising to other people as it is to me, if you pursue that surprise, maybe you'll find something."