David Warner as Merlin in The Wizard

Thanks to Simon Guerrier, writer/producer and one-half of the filmmaking team the Guerrier Brothers, borg.com today presents a short film starring the brilliant genre actor David Warner, who we’ve previously discussed as one of our all-time favorite actors.  Versatile, dynamic, and compelling, Warner has created some of the most memorable characters of all time across media spanning film, television, audio dramas, animation and video games.  Able to create classic, iconic performances as both heroes and villains, his catalog of performances across genres and franchises puts him on a small list with the likes of fellow British thespians Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen for his dramatic, sci-fi, and fantasy roles that have stood the test of time.

Highlights from his roster of film credits only touch on the breadth of Warner’s acting career:  Lysander from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Keith Jennings in The Omen, Jack the Ripper in Time After Time, Ed Dillinger/Sark/Master Control in Tron,  Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, St. John Talbot in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the Abraham Lincoln-inspired Klingon Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Professor Summerlee in The Lost World, Doctor Wrenn in Stephen King’s In the Mouth of Madness, Spicer Lovejoy in James Cameron’s Titanic, chimpanzee Senator Sandar in The Planet of the Apes, and Joseph Lau in James Cameron’s Avatar.  On television he’s performed as a Cardassian on Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as Jor-El in Lois and Clark, and he had key roles in Babylon 5, Twin Peaks, Horatio Hornblower, Wallander, The Secret of Crickley Hall, and a guest star role in this season’s Doctor Who.  He’s voiced the DC Comics villain Ra’s Al Ghul and the Marvel Comics villain Red Skull in animated series, an alternate Third Doctor and Isaac Newton in Doctor Who audio plays, and voiced Star Trek and Star Wars characters in video games.

David Warner in Wizard by the Guerrier Brothers

David Warner on set of The Wizard with a certain furry co-star.

But what might not immediately come to mind are Warner’s performances in comedic works.   He portrayed Blifil in Tom Jones, Evil Genius in Time Bandits, and Dr. Necessiter in The Man with Two Brains.  And now David Warner is starring in a comedy short film that has been shortlisted in the 2013 Hat Trick/Bad Teeth “Short and Funnies” competition.  And he adds to his roster of grand roles that of Merlin the Wizard.  Only Merlin will not be found here in his traditional environment.  Enjoy the fourth Guerrier Brothers short film: The Wizard, written and produced by Simon Guerrier and directed by Thomas Guerrier:

Hilarious!  I can’t vouch for audiences in the UK, but I have no doubt this genre-twisting play on the 9-to-5 office sitcom could be turned into a popular series with audiences in the States.

I discussed the film and Mr. Warner with Wizard writer/producer Simon Guerrier this week.  “David rarely gets to do comedy,” said Guerrier, “which is a great shame because his comic timing is extraordinary.”

I asked Simon how he felt about working with such a screen legend.  “He was brilliant,” he said.  “I’ve worked with him a couple of times before, and he’s always so good, and so smart with comments on the script and how scenes might work better.”

On set of The Wizard

Natasha Phelan and director Thomas Guerrier film David Warner, Lisa Bowerman, William Hughes and Lisa Greenwood in Simon Guerrier’s The Wizard.

What about an ongoing series?  Simon hopes the production company he worked with will allow him to work with Warner on future episodes.

Warner is a natural to play Merlin.  You don’t want to think about your heroes serving in mundane day jobs, but there is something laugh-out-loud funny and endearing about Warner’s classic English wizard stuck in an office job after the state cancels his benefits.  He becomes Everyman, and like King Henry in Henry V–sneaking off to join his own troops in the field–the legendary adviser to King Arthur himself at last has become one of us.  Bravo!

If you want to help generate buzz to create more episodes, let everyone know by posting your comments here and at Simon Guerrier’s blog.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com