Sometimes, on Monday mornings, there just isn’t much of interest to report . . . and sometimes, on Monday mornings, you read in the New York Times that Graham Chapman, the Monty Python troupe member who died in 1989, will star in a 3D animated version of his memoir, “A Liar’s Autobiography: Volume VI.” Interesting, no? Chapman recorded portions of the book on tape shortly before he died of cancer; those readings will be cut together with other voice performances by other Monty Python members. Currently John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin are participating in the project; Eric Idle is not yet involved, but the NYT article says the filmmakers are “working on him.” The film, which will be released in theaters in the U.K. and on television in the U.S. next spring, is currently in production at 15 different animation companies, each of which will contribute a chapter in a different style. (“Creatively, the different styles reflect the stages in Graham’s life,” the article quotes one of the film’s producer/directors. “And it saves us a lot of time.”) And how much of the autobiography is a genuine portrait of Chapman’s life?
First published in 1980, “A Liar’s Autobiography” was a deliberately fanciful account. And precisely what it says about Mr. Chapman remains open to debate.
“Nothing,” said Terry Jones, one of the six original Pythons and the father of Bill Jones, one of the producers, when asked recently what was true in the book’s description of Mr. Chapman’s progress through medical school, alcoholism, acknowledgment of his gay identity and the toils of surreal comedy. “It’s all a downright, absolute, blackguardly lie,” he said — perhaps joking, as Pythons will.