Alfred Molina will play legendary actor and comic Peter Sellers in an innovative new audio drama.
There Used To Be A Me, from AUK Studios and Spiteful Puppet, “transports us into the mind of Peter Sellers and his characters,” jumping forwards and backwards through his life as Sellers produces an audio documentary on his life where he plays all the characters and crew.
Hailed for his performances in the likes of I’m All Right Jack (1959), Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962) and Dr. Strangelove (1964) and Being There (1979), in his personal life, Sellers struggled with depression and insecurities. He remained something of an enigma until his death in 1980 at the age of 54, often claiming to have no identity outside the roles that he played.
He left no biopic or record of his life or his feelings, with this new audio play aiming to fill that gap, constructing a fantasy image of Seller’s life.
You can listen to the trailer for There Used To Be A Me now, exclusively on RadioTimes.com.
“As a fan of the great Peter Sellers, any chance to inhabit his world through his movies, books, etc, then I grab at it,” said Spider-Man: No Way Home star Molina. “This project does something different. It tells a familiar story from a completely new perspective, that of Peter Sellers himself. The challenge to voice all the characters, Mr Sellers included, was too exciting to ignore. It’s a window into a soul.”
There Used To Be A Me – which takes its title from a Sellers quote, “There used to be a me. But, I had it surgically removed.” – has been written by comedian and writer Ian Billings and produced and directed by Barnaby Eaton-Jones..
“In There Used To Be A Me, I’ve attempted to examine the man and his work and peer into the mechanisms of his thinking, which, if contemporary reports are accurate, was sometimes wildly awry,” said Billings. “Peter Hall said, ‘You need the skill to control the skill.’ Sellers had the first but possibly not the second.”
Eaton-Jones added: “I’ve been a fan of Peter Sellers, as an artist, since I was no higher than a giraffe with no legs and a broken neck. It was a happy coincidence that writer Ian Billings and I were working on co-current ideas for a new way to look back on Sellers’ life – without repeating other works – and, when we realised this, we opted for Ian’s more audio-friendly narrative in which Sellers is producing his own audio about his life; starring Sellers as everyone in it. It’s a complex and clever script, with pathos and humour; a deep dive into the life and career of Peter Sellers.
“To have another hero of mine, in the form of acting legend Alfred Molina, come on board to perform this one-man ‘show’, was the icing on the cake. He delivered it with such aplomb and really juggled the manic nature of switching between voices in a virtually live performance with no separation of recording each voice separately. It’s a tour-de-force. I’ve had a ball directing and producing this unique audio production.”
There Used To Be A Me is available now on digital platforms including Audible and via Spiteful Puppet.
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