Stephen Merchant On How He Got Liam Neeson To Do Comedy: ‘He Made The Mistake Of Saying He Was A Fan Of Our Work’

Stephen Merchant has had plenty of TV and film success over the past years, spearheading the creation of some of the greatest works in British television like The Office and Extras. This year, he applies his comedic brilliance once again in a new movie called Hello Ladies: The Movie, which is based on the TV show he co-created with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky.

Watch the hilarious trailer of the movie here.

Merchant visited Reddit’s iAMA subreddit to talk about the movie and answer some questions about his life and career, just in time for the release of Hello Ladies: The Movie in theaters nationwide. Here are some of the questions he answered during the Q and A.

Redditor fNYC asked, “I am a fan of everything you have done, but in particular the Liam Neeson scene in “Life’s Too Short” is five minutes of perfect writing. Wondering if you can share anything about the writing of that scene?”

Merchant answered, “I met Liam on a talk show and he made the mistake of saying he was a fan of our work, so I pounced on him and made him promise to be in the show. We just hit on the idea that he seems so serious in movies like Taken and Schindler’s List that it would be fun to play with that image and make him decide he wanted to do stand up comedy.”

What are they talking about? Here is Liam Neeson’s “comedic debut” as he totally nails the deadpan humor our British friends are known for.

MrWittySnark wrote, “Hi Steve, Big fan here. A lot of your work seems to deal with a character’s feelings of shame and feeling at the bottom of the social hierarchy, no matter how hard they try to be on top. Maybe this is really inappropriate to ask on my part – but let us know if you’re okay! In other words – let me know that you (and Ricky) aren’t actually tortured self loathing artist’s in your day to day lives, and that you’d be comfortable seeing a therapist if you ever needed to. I say this as a friend, who literally thinks The Office is one of the best TV shows ever made and it got me through some pretty tough times in high school. Looking forward to Hello Ladies: The Movie.”

Stephen Merchant answered, “I don’t think either of us have feelings of great shame or self-loathing, we just find characters with those traits more interesting and comic. I don’t think there is a journey for a character to take if they’re just happy go-lucky and life is great and they love the world and the world loves them.”

Redditor -Nassau asked, “Are you secretly a ladies man and just portraying this persona of an awkward, lanky man? In other words, is it true that you’re one of the great lovemakers but you don’t tell people because you don’t like to show off?”

Merchant answered, “Yes, Rumbled”.

Here is Merchant being the “ladies man” he is.

Read the rest of Stephen Merchan’t AMA here.

[Image from Justin Hoch/Flickr]