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‘I lie all the time,’ Gervais admits

One nice thing that can be said about Ricky Gervais is that the man certainly hasn’t changed with fame.

One nice thing that can be said about Ricky Gervais is that the man certainly hasn’t changed with fame.

At the turn of the millennium, Gervais was a late-blooming comedian in his early 40s who’d worked in an office for years and eventually was able to make a TV series about it. That show was The Office, an instant classic that is considered one of the greatest TV comedies of all time.

Now Gervais has come to TIFF with his Hollywood directorial debut, The Invention Of Lying, featuring an all-star cast including Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and Louis CK.

But despite the big budget and the celebrity cast, Gervais is still the chubby little man with the pug-nosed face we’ve always loved.

“This is what you get,” Gervais told Metro. “If I played Genghis Khan, he’d have this hair with no makeup and sweatpants.”

In the new high-concept comedy, Gervais plays the first man in the history of the human race to ever tell a lie. It’s a role the comedian claims he has more than enough experience to pull off.

“I lie all the time,” admitted Gervais. “But it’s to protect people’s feelings. If someone asks me to go to their baby’s christening, I’ll say, ‘Oh I can’t, I’m busy.’ I don’t say, ‘It’s just a little fat thing that looks like Winston Churchill. I’ve seen loads and I don’t need to see yours.’ As a nice member of the human race you can choose when to do it.”

Working with a cast stocked with comedy icons was a joy for Gervais, and it inevitably made his job easier as a co-writer/director. However, when asked what he gained from the experience, the always self-deprecating comedian is quick to laugh it off.

“What have I learned? I learned nothing at all. I went in with a theory and I stuck with it and learned nothing. I did surround myself with people who are better at what they do than I am. It’s as simple as that.”

• Watch The Invention Of Lying today at 11 a.m. at the Visa Screening Room

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