LOS ANGELES (Reuters)
— The food is better, the weather is warmer and the
landscapes are more exquisite, but middle-aged comedians Steve
Coogan and Rob Brydon are still in a funk in new film "The Trip to
British actors Coogan and Brydon, both 48, reunited with
director Michael Winterbottom in Italy for a sequel to their
cult comedy "The Trip," a mockumentary where the two play
fictionalized versions of themselves on a week-long culinary
trip for a newspaper.
In the new film, which premiered this week at the Sundance Film
Festival, Coogan and Bryon take a Mini Cooper car to roam
idyllic Italian landscapes, with a soundtrack provided by Alanis
Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" album, the only CD the men
have in their car.
They stop at various restaurants from Tuscany and Rome to the
Amalfi coast and Capri to sample the country's famed delicacies
in beautiful rustic and coastal restaurants.
"It was an amazing experience, we were at some of the most
beautiful places in the world. It was spellbinding scenes
everywhere we went, and we diminished it all by talking crap,"
Coogan quipped with the Sundance audience after the premiere.
The lunches are smattered with Coogan and Brydon riffing off
each other with their now-famous impressions of well-known
actors, including Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Hugh Grant,
often masking underlying competitiveness between the two.
In one scene, Coogan and Brydon end up reenacting a scene from
the third installment of Batman film "The Dark Knight,"
impersonating Christian Bale, Tom Hardy and Caine.
"The Trip to Italy" will be lengthened into six half-hour
episodes to air on BBC television in April, following the same
model as "The Trip." The film version will be released in the
U.S. by IFC Films.
AN ITALIAN ODYSSEY
At an intimate dinner with journalists at Sundance, Winterbottom
said "The Trip to Italy" added a new chapter to the two
"The first film was more about the food, and this film is about
their journey. Both men are lost, and they go on this odyssey to
find themselves," the director told Reuters.
"The Trip" is led by Coogan, who takes Brydon to
accompany him to sample the food of Northern counties in England,
including his hometown of Manchester. In Italy, the journey is led
by Brydon, and the duo visit landmarks associated with British
Romantic poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Bryon.
In the film, Brydon is dealing with a disconnect in his marriage,
which he attempts to escape with a holiday affair. Coogan is dealing
with the disappointment of his fictional U.S. television show being
canceled, and tries to reconnect with his teenage son.
In real life, Coogan's career in Hollywood is faring much better,
with his work on drama "Philomena" earning him two Oscar
nominations, for best original script and best picture.
Winterbottom said "The Trip to Italy" was more
scripted than the first film, with both the physical and emotional
journey of the two characters mapped out. Brydon added that they
were given a framework, which they "colored in" with their jovial
conversations, laced with dry humor and acerbic wit.
Both Coogan and Brydon said they didn't know if they would do
another installment of "The Trip," saying they've exhausted their
"Restaurants have become like work to me. All I want to do is go
home, sit on my sofa and eat grilled cheese on toast," Coogan said.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; editing by