Ipswich: Flight Of The Conchords’ movie will happen says Regent-bound comic Rhys Darby

First off, the question on every Flight Of The Conchords’ fans lips; is the much talked about movie ever going to happen?

“The boys [Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement] are currently preparing for a tour of New Zealand and Australia which they haven’t done for about six or seven years, so they’re very excited about,” says Rhys Darby, who plays long-suffering and occasionally insufferable band manager Murray Hewitt in the cult HBO series.

“It’s the first time they’ve got back together again in recent times and so that will spark them hopefully to do the next thing. At this point the movie idea is simply just that. We all want to do it, it’s just a matter of when someone’s going to start writing it.”

His latest award-winning comedy show This Way To Spaceship, at the Ipswich Regent on July 12, marks his debut UK tour.

It’s based on his autobiographical science fiction novel, part carefully disguised stories about how he got to where he is, part guide on how to survive this year’s Mayan prophesised apocalypse.

“Living on this side of the world we really did feel things were falling apart. There was an earthquake in Christchurch, a tsunami in Japan. A lot of the world seemed to be cracking apart,” says Rhys, who splits his time between New Zealand and Los Angeles.

“Being a history TV buff I knew about the Mayan prophecy and figured if it all does suddenly end, the VIPs must have some back up plan. I have this idea the power people have got spaceships ready with a special invite list to get on board.

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“I thought ‘well what about everyone else’ and how I can get all these other people on. Will I be invited? That’s how the book came about. I thought there’s also an array of subject matter for comedy, so I just let my imagination go wild.”

Expect the usual physicality, sound effects and surreal musings he’s known for plus advice on conversation starters at parties, fashion tips and how to work your way up the social set. If that fails there’s also help infiltrating the ships and how those left behind can fight off alien attacks.

Having spent time in the army us survivors could do with Rhys right here.

“I think I just watched too many 80s war movies, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Hamburger Hill; oh man I just wanted a piece of that. The basic training side of it was very Full Metal Jacket, there was certainly a lot of abuse and holding very heavy artillery shells above my head and running through swamps. I guess I liked the adventure side of it.

“I wasn’t sure what I was doing with my life and thought maybe I should be a commander in charge of a battalion but those dreams were dashed when I realised I didn’t even have a good sense of direction. I was good at marching, but apart from that I just seemed to make people laugh.

“I grew out of that idea, but I was there for three-and-a-half years and then left to go to university. It was a weird chapter of my life, but looking back I was quite late to mature; I probably should have joined the Scouts but I went straight into the real army. Luckily, as it was New Zealand, we didn’t really get deployed anywhere, it was more of a civil defence outfit.

“It’s given me a few extra skills which will help me during the armageddon. I can do morse code and I can fold my socks. I can roll them up into balls so they’ve got smiley faces, which is a military skill, and you can actually use those as grenades - especially ones that you’ve worn for three weeks.”

He’s got nothing set in stone for after the tour and book release, adding if we’re all around to see 2013 he’ll get himself back on the film circuit; having starred in films including Yes Man and The Boat That Rocked to name a few.

Rhys’ only worry is he won’t get pipped to a seat onboard the ship by Zippy.

It’s happened before; the Rainbow icon came 12th in a magazine poll of the top 100 cult TV characters, Rhys came 17th.

“I was just happy to be on the list, but I was shocked to be beaten by a puppet,” he laughs.

For breaking local, national and international showbiz news follow me on Twitter @whatsonwayne

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