Monty Python Gets Animated In “A Liar’s Autobiography”

Here’s the newly released trailer for A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, a film that we expect to hear a lot more about as Oscar season approaches. The 82-minute production, directed by Ben Timlett, Bill Jones, and Jeff Simpson, used 14 different studios to create its mixed-media animation sequences: A for Animation, ArthurCox, Beakus, Cake, Made Visual Studio, Mr & Mrs, Not To Scale, Peepshow, Sherbet, Steven Lall, Superfad, Treat Studios, Trunk and Tundra.

Reading the film synopsis, it sounds like the kind of original, totally left field production that is rare in contemporary feature animation:

Comedian, actor, physician, mountaineer, rugby enthusiast, pipe smoker, alcoholic and consummate Englishman — the late Graham Chapman was a man for all seasons. But this member of Monty Python was not one to let his already colourful life prevent him from making up an even wilder one. Published in 1980, Chapman’s outrageously false memoir A Liar’s Autobiography (Volume VI) — credited to Chapman and four others, including Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams — was a work of blithe, unashamed and inspired fiction. And it has now inspired this insanely entertaining animated biopic-in 3-D, no less.

Despite being dead for twenty-three years, Chapman himself is the star of the show, thanks to forty-five minutes of newly discovered audio recordings of readings from Liar’s done in Harry Nilsson’s studio. Fifteen different groups of animators bring Chapman’s dubious remembrances to life in a dizzying array of styles. Four-fifths of Chapman’s former Python comrades — John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam — crop up throughout, playing themselves and various other equally dubious characters Chapman encounters on his journeys. Whisking through Chapman’s sadly foreshortened life — he died of cancer in 1989, aged forty-eight — A Liar’s Autobiography recounts his years in medical school, his first meeting with longtime writing partner Cleese at Cambridge, the high days of Pythonage, his coming-out as a gay man (or seventy percent gay, according to a survey he conducted on himself), and, of course, his abduction and transport to the heavens by space aliens at the end of the eighties. Even cancer, it seems, cannot vanquish the truly inveterate liar.

The film will debut this weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival. It will air later this year on EPIX, as well as have a limited 3-D theatrical release in the US through Brainstorm Media. UK and Canada will also have theatrical releases.


  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    Read the book it’s based on if you can find it.
    It’s remarkable.

  • http://www.tjrmusic.com TJR

    I’m in…….And this looks way better than the Dorothy from Oz trailer.

  • The Gee

    “Reading the film synopsis, it sounds like the kind of original, totally left field production that is rare in contemporary feature animation: “

    Agreed.

    I’ve never gotten into much of Monty Python (and believe me, people have tried to make me get into it). Wasn’t one of the recurring lines, “Now for something completely different”?

    This would probably qualify and that’s cool.

  • Richard Gadd

    Hope its gets some sort of release here in blighty.

  • Michel Van

    Alone the advertisement:
    “the best movie since i died (Graham Chapman)”

    I have to see this movie !!!

  • swac

    Wouldn’t it have been great if they’d got Terry Gilliam to do a spot of new animation for this? (I’m sure he’s got better things to do, of course, but I always enjoyed his work in the context of the show.)

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Given the fact that the film would be wedded to Monty Python, something other than a standard biopic would definitely be in order. This is going to be one of those films that work best as a DVD since the viewer is going to be hitting Rewind a LOT.

  • http://animatedlane.com jwlane

    This looks insane, in a good way. I would love to see a breakdown of what studio did which look – maybe there will be a blog post somewhere about this.

    Poor Terry Gilliam couldn’t keep his mind corralled enough to make Don Quixote, that and natural disasters. Which is a shame because it looked like classic Gilliam in the making, to me anyway. What would a Gilliam stop-action (or any feature animation technique) look like? I’d love to find out. And, nobody would have to worry about the cameras washing away while on location (see Lost in La Mancha).

  • http://bobharper.net Bob Harper

    I can’t wait to see this. And I agree with some of the sentiments about how this seems to bring back the plea to Terry Gilliam “Please do some more animation kind sir!”

  • Chris Sobieniak

    He can certainly do something!

  • thekingof8

    Where’s Eric Idle?

  • http://dangerusscartoons.blogspot.com DANGERUSS

    This is truly exciting! Anything Monty Python is gold. Graham Chapman is my favorite, except for the other four guys, but seriously, he is awesome!

    Multiple animation styles, very cool!

    Can’t wait, must see!!

  • Sam Henderson

    That’s weird that Eric Idle, the person that uses his Python credentials the most, isn’t involved.