“Veep” and “The Thick of It” creator Armando Iannucci has been mostly on the TV side of the entertainment divide, though has gotten into film with critical darlings such as “In the Loop” and “The Death of Stalin”.
His films however, including the upcoming “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” are struggling to find distribution in today’s market which is increasingly dominated by big-budget tentpoles. Unsurprisingly, the celebrated writer has concerns for the future of streaming.
Iannucci’s concern however isn’t about the disappearance of the theatrical experience or the domination of screens by comic book movies at the expense of smaller films. Rather, the man is much more concerned about the sheer number of streaming services and thinks it’s all coming to a head.
He tells Deadline: “At some point the bubble is going to burst. Once people are asked to pay for Apple, Disney, Netflix and whatever, that’s going to contract.” He’s also hardly anti-streaming, saying he binges shows like everyone else and recently has been gorging on “The Expanse”.
However, he cites it as an example of his concern as he doesn’t know anyone else that has seen the series: “It does make me think that at some point, someone high-up at these streaming services is going to go: ‘Hang on a minute, are we making too much stuff and shall we shut some of it down?'” and adds the shows that survive will have to have “a particularly strong identity.”
Iannucci made headlines last year by tweeting a joke about Donald Trump, proposing a film in which Trump is drugged and moved to a replica White House where he carries on playing at being president while surrounded by “Truman Show”-style actors. It was a flippant remark, but he now reveals he got twelve serious offers in total from major studios and production companies.
However he turned them all down, saying the U.S. President is “simply beyond satire” at this point: “The problem I have with Donald Trump is that satire or comedy is about exaggeration, distortion… But that’s what Donald Trump does… He is providing his own entertainment, he’s obsessed with ratings. That’s what he is, a salesman. He’s a self-basing satirist. He is parodying himself.”
Fox Searchlight has set a May 8th U.S. release for “The Personal History of David Copperfield” which stars Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Aneurin Barnard, Benedict Wong and Gwendoline Christie.