A comedic performer, League of Gentlemen member Mark Gatiss is a multi-faceted talent. He has expanded his experience to include the 2010 series Sherlock, but that’s hardly his limit. After discovering the League of Gentlemen, I have been a fan of Gatiss’, due to his unique wit and grasp of dramatic tragedy. A fan of classic science fiction such as Quatermass and Doctor Who, as well as Hammer Horror films, Gatiss has been living out his greatest fantasies in various productions including Sapphire and Steel, Doctor Who (including the unofficial spin-off P.R.O.B.E.), and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased).
After seeing Gatiss portray the Doctor in a short filmed for Doctor Who night in 1999, I was convinced that he was the ideal Doctor for the new millennium. Sadly, he has yet to portray the part but I maintain this stance. Just look at the guy… the sketch was a gag, but he IS the Doctor.
Gatiss has been working on adapting his series of Lucifer Box novels into a TV mini-series but it has yet to arrive. In the meantime, the actor has decided to work on a remake if H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon. This will mark yet another remake of a classic science fiction project along with the ‘live’ screening of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass in 2005.
The First Men in the Moon is gaining plenty of press. With Doctor Who well and truly live after the departure of David Tennant, sci-fi fans are eager for something to fill the gap while the good Doctor prepares to unveil the Christmas Carol on the 25th of December.
Here are some news clips, but please click on the hyperlinks to read the entire articles, especially the Telegraph.co.uk piece that delves into Gatiss’ career path in general.
Via The Edinburgh Evening News:
“The First Men In The Moon came about accidentally really,” he says. “Some of the people who did the special effects on Crooked House, the ghost story I did two years ago, did some digging and discovered it was one of the few HG Wells novels that was available to do for television – most are owned by the big Hollywood studios. I was immediately thrilled by the idea, what you might call scientific romances. There’s just something fantastically appealing about the idea of two Victorian gentlemen going to the Moon.”
As in most of Gatiss’ work, the writer/actor rejoices in his on-screen appearance. He grins, “Professor Cavor is exactly the kind of part I’ve wanted to play since I was a little boy – the person in the dinosaur movie with a linen suit, like Laurence Naismith in Valley Of The Gwangi or something.
“I don’t care what other people think any more about me writing my own parts. Nobody had asked me to play Professor Cavor, so I might have waited 40 years for the chance and it never come along. So I had to write it for myself – ‘can do’, you see.”
“The 1964 film of it with Lionel Jeffries [who died this year, and to whom Gatiss has dedicated his adaptation] was a great favourite of mine and I read the book when I was at school, but the circumstances of making it were quite odd,” says Gatiss. “It was brought to my attention by some friends of mine who work in special effects that unlike most of the other HG Wells titles – The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine – this one for some reason isn’t owned by one of the big Hollywood studios. It’s so much my favourite kind of thing. The sort of programme I’ve always wanted to make is the sort of programme I’d like to watch on a Bank Holiday Monday: that kind of adventure, that kind of fantasy.”