"Monty Cristo" here.
LLOYD THE CONQUEROR plays a single time at the Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival TONIGHT in NYC at 6:45pm. If you’re in NYC, go check it out. It stars Brian Posehn as a retired LARP Wizard who I’d characterize as being something of an Obi-LARP Kenobi (as I do in the interview excerpt below).
People know Brian Posehn from his stand-up comedy career, guest appearances on sitcoms, his comic book writing, and his voice acting on various cartoons. I started following him back when he was writing for and performing on MR SHOW WITH BOB AND DAVID, and loved that his career and that of the other comics featured in THE COMEDIANS OF COMEDY (Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, and Zach Galifianakis) saw their careers shift into a higher gear after that point. I love nerd comedians, and he is one of the arch-sorcerers of the nerd comedy world.
I spoke with Brian very recently over Skype about his starring role in LLOYD THE CONQUEROR, an indie Canadian LARPing comedy. He plays Andy, a Level 80 master LARPer who is known on the field of battle as The White Wizard. It’s his biggest role to date, and I really like that the movie is about LARPing and D&D-spectrum stuff more than other movies that just use it as window dressing (coughcoughROLE MODELScoughcough) or something to poke fun at, as if to say “isn’t this kind of ridiculous”. I don’t LARP. I don’t have any close friends who LARP, but I get it and think it’s a cool way to divert oneself.
LLOYD is essentially a “young heroes seek their destiny” story in the mold of the sword and sorcery classics near and dear to many of us nerds. The LARPing field stands in for actual violence, and a malevolent community college prof (TRAILER PARK BOYS’ Mike Smith) takes the place of Merlin or Sauron or The Black Prince, what have you.
The good people with the movie have given us a clip to run, but I'm having upload issues with our FTP, sadly. Here is the trailer:
I haven’t had time to transcribe the whole interview, but it will all go up in episode 11 of Screen Time, my podcast on 5by5 (this link will take you to the show page when it’s up, or you can subscribe in iTunes here).
Here are the bits most directly pertaining to the movie. Enjoy:
MC: So how did you get involved with LLOYD THE CONQUEROR? Was it a matter of somebody who knew somebody? They were looking for someone to play a Level 80 LARP Wizard, and they thought, “well there’s no one better to play this Wizard?
Posehn: That’s kinda how it happened. They were looking for financing. It’s this Canadian indie, and they wanted an American actor. They probably wanted someone more famous than me, or somebody famous at all, and the guys producing it and the writer wanted me. So, the money people came up with a list and went “try to get these guys!”, and I don’t know who was on the list. I know I wasn’t, but the producer and the writer/director, Michael Peterson, they always wanted me for it. Quite honestly, I don’t get a ton of BIG parts offered to me, I get small things offered or small things I have to jump through hoops for, but never is there a script where I’m featured all the way through. Most of my movies parts are pretty small. So it was hard to say no, and the fact that it was funny and part of this world that, you know, I’ve never LARPed, but I have played a lot of D&D, so I was familiar with the world for sure. Being a geek, it’s just another type of geek.
MC: It’s a merging of the acting that you do and the D&D playing you’ve done over the years.
Posehn: Right. This guy is different than the kind of guy I ever get to play.
MC: He’s really a kind of Obi-LARP Kenobi.
Posehn: Yeah, he is, and I play him a little smarter than I normally play guys. Almost every part I’ve ever done has been a kind of variation of me. Even when I did FANTASTIC FOUR, I’m playing me as a priest, but this guy…I really tried to act and make him different than the other parts I’ve played.
MC: So then in terms of making the movie, was it a different process for you, a different feel, having this much larger of a part and less time off?
Posehn: For sure, yeah, and the fact I had so much to memorize. I’m so used to…even in sitcoms, just having a couple of lines, walking in to dsay something dumb, and then walk out. This is the first character where I had monologues, so there were mornings I got to the set [sigh]…AND we’re shooting the whole thing in 15 days, so that is not a lot of time to shoot a lot of scenes, so there were brutal days for me. It was, ultimately, a LOT of fun, and I’m happy with the way it came out, but the whole time I was kinda sweating it, like “can I even do this? Should I have just let them call Steve Zahn or whoever else?”
MC: In the evolving world of nerd culture, there are people…like Patton…who say that nerd culture needs to die to be reborn. You read that essay he did?
Posehn: Yeah, I did.
MC: How have you seen things evolve in this era we’re in where now it’s cool and mainstream to do geek spectrum stuff?
Posehn: It’s crazy, but it’s great. The one thing is…I kinda wish it’d always had the acceptance it does now. When you see a cute girl wearing a shirt—and this has been like this for the last 10 years or so…a cute girl with a shirt that says “I Love Nerds” or “I Love Geeks”, it’s like where were YOU in the 80’s? You know? That’s the one main thing that I notice. I don’t know how else to answer that. Patton’s thing…I didn’t agree with. I think that ultimately it’s good that that many people care now about this stuff. Although, still…comic books don’t sell like they did when I was young, so I don’t know what these geeks are doing. I think they’re playing a lot of video games and watching a lot of anime, but they’re not at comic book shops like they should be. It seems like there are more people into geeky interests, which is a good thing, so that we can have shows like WALKING DEAD on, and that kind of thing that might not have existed 10 years ago, but they’re not at comic shops.