Netflix has bought the rights to Ricky Gervais’ The Office spin-off movie, David Brent: Life on the Road. Ricky Gervais co-created the original U.K. series alongside Stephen Merchant. On Tuesday, Ricky Gervais was a special guest on SiriusXM’s Opie with Jim Norton Show, and as Variety confirmed, he sold the rights of the movie to Netflix.
“This is exciting news and this is top secret, so I’m going to say it now. Netflix has bought out the rest of the world again…Which is great for me, because I’d rather 20 million people see it than half a million people see it in cinemas, do you know what I mean? Because I want to do tours off the back of it. So for me, it’s great.”
David Brent: Life on the Road will tell the tale of the character and his band, Foregone Conclusion, as he pursues his dream to be a rock star and self-funds a U.K. tour as a documentary crew follows the would-be rock star around. Gervais has portrayed the character of David Brent performing live shows with Foregone Conclusion at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, and also has a series on Gervais’ official YouTube channel entitled, Learn Guitar with David Brent.
The Office was a smash success in the U.K., spawning two seasons for a total of 12 episodes (2001-2003), with two additional Christmas specials. The show centered on character David Brent, played by Gervais. The Office was so successful that it was adapted in many countries, including Germany, France, Israel, Chile, and, most popularly, the United States. The American version of The Office starred Steve Carell as he played David Brent’s counterpart, Michael Scott.
The U.S. version of The Office was adapted by Greg Daniels, and Ricky Gervais was an original executive producer. The show aired for nine seasons (2005-2013) and won five Primetime Emmy Awards and was nominated for a total of 42. The show’s popularity continues as both the U.K. and the U.S. versions of The Office are currently available on Netflix and are often listed under “Trending Now.”
Netflix and Gervais’ partnership is nothing new. Ricky Gervais wrote, directed, and starred in both the Netflix original show Derek (2012-2014) as well as the 2016 Netflix original movie Special Correspondents. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gervais explained what it was like to make a movie for Netflix.
“Originally Special Correspondents was a studio film. When I sent the script out, we had lots of offers and we actually went with someone. Then Netflix heard about it and said, ‘We’ll buy it out. We’ll buy them out. We’ll buy you out. We’ll give you a guaranteed backend of what it might make at the cinema.’
“At the moment, Hollywood is superhero films and franchises, Marvel comics, things I’ve never heard of. What was Hollywood is now Sundance and Tribeca. I think Netflix is going to be an alternative to that. You make the film you want. It doesn’t get a week in the cinema and then no one sees it; it gets two years on Netflix and everyone might as well watch it, because they’ve paid for it and it’s a new movie. They like it or they don’t, but that’s a lot of people…”
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 15, 2016
Gervais would go on in the interview to explain his fondness of The Office.
“Oh, I’ve got a fondness for it for many reasons. I’m very proud of it, because it’s certainly the thing that made my career easier… On a personal level, The Office was the first thing I ever tried my hardest at in life. I was one of those sort of academic kids who was pretty smart so I didn’t try hard. I got through because I knew I could. I winged it. God, I wish I could go back and try my hardest at everything. So I did with The Office, and I got an A for it. And I got addicted. I knew that I’d done well there, even before the good and bad reviews.”
The David Brent character appeared in two episodes of Season 7 in the American version of The Office. Fans are hoping that David Brent: Life on the Road will feature crossover appearances of characters from the U.S. version of the show. With the success that both The Office and Netflix original movies have, Life on the Road is sure to be a success — and David Brent knows about success.
“If at first you don’t succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried.” – David Brent
[Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]