My Favorite Mistake: Ricky Gervais

Newsweek, December 5, 2011 | Go to article overview

My Favorite Mistake: Ricky Gervais


Ricky Gervais on throwing away an idea worth more than $1 billion.

What's the biggest mistake of my career? Hmmm ...

OK, put your hands down. I'm trying to pretend it's a difficult question because I haven't made any, not because there are too many to choose from.

Now let me see. Stopping The Office at its peak after 12 episodes and a Christmas special? Nah. Enough is enough.

Maybe it was making the first Hollywood family rom-com that suggested the existence of God was a lie? Ooh ... I know ... what about insulting the most powerful people in my industry at the Golden Globes, in front of a world audience of more than 200 million people? No. I'd have to rate that as a highlight, to be honest.

My hesitance in pinpointing my biggest mistake isn't that I think it's been a perfect career, but rather that I find it difficult to regret anything I meant to do.

So maybe we should follow the common adage that you don't regret the things you did as much as the things you didn't. That's much easier for me, as I've done so little.

Here's one: I was on holiday with my girlfriend Jane in about 1999 in Hungary (yeah, I know, odd choice, but money was tight). We visited this huge Victorian museum one day, and as I was walking round I had an idea for a movie in which all the exhibits came to life and started running amok. The lions, the cavemen, the mummies, even the statues. I thought it would make a great fantasy horror film. Huge effects, an amazing spectacle. When we got back to our hotel room, I started writing the screenplay. …

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