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Ricky Gervais – "At 55 I still have a little bit of punk in me"

The Office star Ricky Gervais on broken rock-star dreams and reviving his David Brent alter ego in a new ‘rockumentary’

Ricky Gervais has a long-standing relationship with the music industry. From fronting his own short-lived pop duo (Seona Dancing) to managing Britpop stars Suede, to roping in David Bowie for a cameo appearance on Extras, the 55-year-old comedian/actor/director has long had music at the core of his professional life. Now, in his new movie Life On The Road, Gervais revisits his most famous creation, The Office’s David Brent, as the former office manager at Wernham Hogg paper merchants pursues his life’s dream of becoming a rock star, with his band Foregone Conclusion. In Brent’s head, Life On The Road is comparable to Martin Scorsese following the Rolling Stones on tour. “The reality is rather more tragic, but also poignant,” says Gervais. “Not unlike the Anvil movie…”

When did you start planning Life On The Road?

A couple of years ago. When I ended The Office, I said I wouldn’t bring it back. I brought Brent back briefly for a Comic Relief sketch in 2013, and I had to come up with a back story for what he’d be doing now – he’d still be living in Slough, he’d still be repping and dreaming of being a rock star. It’s a staple of comedy to have an ordinary guy trying to do something he’s not equipped to do. And that would have been that, but then I bumped into [former Razorlight drummer] Andy Burrows, and he has a band, and so we did some gigs for fun. And I thought: “If Brent was real, and this former docu-soap star was now trying to be a rock star, that could make a documentary…”

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