John Cleese is clarifying the status of a controversial and allegedly transphobic scene in the movie ‘Life of Brian’.
Cleese, who confirmed he’s adapting the 1979 play into a stage play, responded to Daily mail report stating that he was strongly encouraged to cut a sequence involving a man asking to be called Loretta and talking about wanting to give birth.
The ‘Monty Python’ star took to Twitter to criticize ‘false reporting’ about the scene that could be cut to appease modern audiences.
“A few days ago I spoke to an audience outside London. I told them I was adapting ‘Life of Brian’ so I could make it as a stage play (NOT a musical),” Cleese wrote. “I mentioned that a year ago in New York we had a table reading of the latest draft. All the actors, many of them Tony winners, strongly advised me to cut Loretta’s scene. Of course I’m not going to do that.”
Cleese added that the request to cut Loretta’s scene was “ludicrous” and a reaction to potentially alienating ticket buyers.
“These were absolutely top notch Broadway performers and they were adamant that we weren’t going to get away with doing the scene in New York!” Cleese tweeted. “Producers tend to be fearful and fail to remember that the protests in New York when ‘Brian’ was released meant we never needed to advertise!!”
Cleese, who was it accused of being transphobic in 2020 after stick up for JK Rowling, has been adamant that “cancel culture” has curbed creativity in the comedy landscape, stating in 2022: “If you’re worried about offending people and you’re constantly thinking about it, you’re not going to be very creative. So I think it has a disastrous effect.”
Cleese continued at the time: “I think it’s especially troubling at the moment because you can only create an atmosphere of freedom, where you don’t critically check everything you say before moving forward. What you need to be able to do is build without knowing where you’re going because you’ve never been there before. That’s what creativity is: you must be allowed to build. And a lot of comedians are sitting there now and when they think of something, they’re like, ‘Can I get away with it? I do not believe. So and so he got into trouble, and he said that, oh, he said that.’ Do you understand what I mean? And this is the death of creativity.
Cleese announced he was reviving the sitcom ‘Fawlty Towers’ earlier this year, but shut down the reboot concept as a product of ‘wokery’.