ERIC IDLE VISITS SOUTH PARK
by Hans ten Cate
Sunday, 2 May 1999

Eric Idle has lent his voice to one of the many colorful characters of South Park in the feature-length animated film, South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut. The film, planned for release on June 18, is based on the raw, edgy, and extremely popular animated television series South Park, created by young wunderkindern Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Because of the television show's increasing popularity, Parker and Stone have been able to attract celebrity voices to their cause. The movie is no exception and will feature the voices of George Clooney, Minnie Driver, and Mike Judge, in addition to that of Eric Idle.

When the Daily Llama asked Eric Idle about the part, he said "It's true. I met the guys last year at [the] Aspen [Comedy Festival] and liked them." This was the same festival that featured the Monty Python reunion and the announcement of a Python 30th anniversary stage show sometime in 1999. The annual festival attracts copious comedic talent to the ski resort town of Aspen, Colorado, including the talents of South Park creators Stone and Parker. "They asked me to play a quick role," confided Eric to the Daily Llama. "Which I did, but I cannot remember the character's name."

Eric Idle remarked that it was an easy part, only taking him 20 minutes. "That's the beauty of animation," he said. Certainly animation of this kind. South Park's animation style is based on using paper cut-outs and stop-motion photography but has been made even easier through the use of computer graphics.

So will any of the other remaining Pythons be (as the theme song states) 'having themselves a time' in South Park in the future? "I tried hard last year to persuade [Terry] Gilliam to do one," Eric Idle told the Daily Llama. Eric had hoped that multiple Python voices could be lent to the South Park team. "But he wouldn't be tempted!" Idle explained of Gilliam.

[Editors note: this information was actually misquoted. Eric Idle was trying to convince Gilliam to make an animated movie. See Daily Llama issue No. 99 for the correction]

The South Park movie is going to be even more explicit and offensive than the current animated series which, even though it airs on cable in the United States, is still frequently censored because of its colorful language. Creators Stone and Parker are under pressure from the studios to release the film as a PG-13 (for audiences over 13 years old) so that the series primary demographic, teenagers, can easily attend. The film is rated R (requiring adult supervision), which suits the creators just fine. The show was meant to poke fun at sex, violence, bad attitude, and foul, foul language.

In the new film, the show's main characters (four local boys Kyle, Kenny, Cartman, and Stan) get sent to boot camp because they've abused Mr. Hat, a hand puppet companion to their third grade teacher Mr. Garrison.