To my knowledge, Christopher Guest has yet to do a web series—and I’m not counting those controversial Super Bowl ads he directed for Groupon. So that leaves the mess of online mockumentaries devoid of Guest’s distinctive improv-driven repertory comedy. Luckily David Hunt and (his wife) Patricia Heaton are about to bring us something that should tide us over in the form of Versailles which sets for a May 9th debut on My Damn Channel.
Hunt directed and created the series, pronounced “Ver-sales,” (along with Rodney Vaccaro), also starring as Colin Tickler, the son of the late B-movie actress Evelyn Anders (Heaton). Tickler and his sister Summer (Eve Gordon) set out to launch a public access sports TV show from the basement of the local library in hopes of grasping what little notoriety their mother bestowed upon them. Mockumentaries wouldn’t be the same without Fred Willard who appears as Summer’s husband and backer, while William H. Macy gives a pitch perfect talking head interview donning his Shameless scruff that might just become his default look for a while.
My Damn Channel ordered up eight episodes of the comedy, a production from Heaton and Hunt’s FourBoys Films banner that was already in production when My Damn Channel came on board.
“They had a lot if not most in the can, and the Patricia Heaton character was the muse for the whole thing but there was no footage of her,” said My Damn Channel Founder/CEO Rob Barnett. “Once we got involved and had conversation about how to add in Patricia. And then they got William H Macy to play himself and connect him to her character.”
“It’s one of those great days that you live for,” said Barnett, “David calls up and says we think we can get Bill Macy.”
At this point the mockumentary is well-mined territory in comedy, and web series are not shy to borrow heavily from Guest or the more common Office descendants. But the cailber of talent here makes it worth marking off May 9th on the calendar to check out more. Case in point: re-watch the trailer (above) starting at 1:05.
“I remember how sexually excited Evelyn got with the fireman,” recalls Macy. “Boy, did she love firemen.. Even I was sort of turned on to it. But of course I was chained.”