Jemaine Clement and customs agents just can’t seem to get along. The Flight of the Conchords star missed the junket for his new film, Gentlemen Broncos, because of a visa issue, and he claims it isn’t the first time.
“I always get stopped in Canada, but I did actually try to sneak in there once, so they always check it out,” he says. And for work on his latest film, his appearance got him into even more trouble. “When I came to do Gentlemen Broncos, I had quite a thick beard. So I got searched on every single possible point there could be,” he says, before stopping to clarify, “I don’t mean bodily, I mean of the journey.”
Gentlemen Broncos marks Clement’s second major film role — after 2007’s indie Eagle vs Shark — and in it he departs from his beloved, quirky Flight of the Conchords persona to embody Ronald Chevalier, a pompous, self-satisfied fantasy fiction author who rips off one of his biggest fans.
Getting into the science fiction fanatic mindset wasn’t the most natural thing for Clement. “I liked some sci-fi films, but I wouldn’t say I was a big fan,” he says of his childhood. “I had a couple of posters of sexy robots on my wall. Other than that, I wasn’t that dedicated.”
On the Flight of the Conchords front, he and creative partner Bret McKenzie just released their second album of material, featuring songs from the HBO series. But for fans of the Conchords, Clement might have some bad news soon. “We probably won’t do a third season,” he admits.
Instead, Clement plans on focusing on finding more film roles. “They’re less work than TV,” he says. “You have to record two albums’ worth of material and write a sitcom in the time it would take to do an album. It doesn’t seem worth it for us.”
But finding those roles could prove difficult if Clement can’t please his harshest critic: himself. “If I hear about a cool movie coming out by a director I like, I don’t want to ruin it by being in it. I don’t want to see myself in it,” he says. “I would rather just see the movie.”