NEIL Clarke (Simon Pegg) is a disillusioned schoolteacher who is suddenly granted the ability to do anything he wishes, a power bestowed upon him by a group of aliens.
With his newfound powers, he calls upon his loyal canine companion (voiced by Robin Williams) to help him save Earth before the aliens decide to destroy it.
Directed by Terry Jones, “Absolutely Anything” was inspired by a short story written by H.G. Wells at the end of the 19th-century—the comedic fantasy “The Man Who Could Work Miracles.”
The film also stars Kate Beckinsale, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Williams appears in the film in his last-ever role.
Jones’ interest in the story was rekindled following a call from producer Mike Medavoy, with whom Jones has enjoyed a long working relationship.
“I had gone to Terry [Jones] and asked him if there was anything he had wanted to direct and he sent me this script,” Medavoy said. “I thought it was very funny and we proceeded to try to get it made.”
Once Jones revisited his original script, he asked screenwriter Gavin Scott to join him and the pair reworked the story together.
“When I was working on George Lucas’ TV series ‘The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,’ George asked me to persuade Terry to direct one of the episodes I had written,” Scott said. “When I went to see him, Terry said that he didn’t have time because he was rewriting a script. With considerable cheek I offered to help with the rewrite, and we have written material together ever since.”
In a nutshell, aliens intercept the Pioneer spacecraft as it’s leaving the solar system and decide to assess planet Earth and its inhabitants.
In real life, Nasa launched the Pioneer mission in 1974 with the intention of studying the outer rim of our solar system. They included a plaque abo
ut the human race and a map of where to find us, just in case intelligent life discovers the probe in deep space. This is exactly what happens in the film when the Intergalactic Council of Superior Beings intercepts the Pioneer probe and starts studying mankind. They wonder whether they should destroy the Earth and its inhabitants for the good of the Intergalactic Community.
The aliens, however, are bound by intergalactic law and must give mankind a chance to prove itself before condemning the planet to oblivion.
“They then choose one member of the human race at random, who happens to be a teacher in a secondary school,” Jones said. “Once he is chosen, they then give him intergalactic powers. How he behaves will dictate the planet’s fate.”
“Absolutely Anything” from Axinite Digicinema opens Aug. 12.