Belfast Telegraph

Cleese changes tack for biography

John Cleese has revealed he had to totally change his writing style to tackle his autobiography.

The 73-year-old Monty Python star said that, despite writing films and TV shows such as Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda for the best part of half a century, he has had to relearn the discipline for his upcoming memoir.

"You have to tell the whole tale through words and that's taken me a little time to do, to feel that I'm beginning to grasp how to do that," he said.

"I think I'll probably have it done in about a year's time. I've done 33,000 words and I've got another 66,000 to go. But you don't do your autobiography very often so I think it's worth taking the time to make it as good as you can."

Cleese, who struck a deal with Random House for his autobiography last October, said writing the book has been quite a challenge.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying it. The only problem is, one has to get quite quiet to be able to write. You just have to get rid of all the interruptions, and my life has just been full of interruptions for the last few months," he continued.

"But I'm very happy because I'm very good at dialogue. I know I write good dialogue but I've never written for the printed page before and it's quite different because you have to supply all the narrative instead of just the dialogue and the moves the characters make, and the setting."

The star, who lends his voice to British aeroplane Bulldog in Disney animation Planes, which is released in cinemas on Friday August 16, said he was glad he did not need to do any writing in his new film.

"A lot of the things I'm best known for, I've written myself - Fawlty Towers, Python, A Fish Called Wanda - so it's lovely when somebody comes along with a script that works and all you have to do is the acting. Frankly, the acting is the easiest bit, it's the writing bit that's difficult," he said.

Cleese added: "What I like about it is that you're entertaining the whole family. You're entertaining the kids, but there are also jokes in there for the adults that the kids might not get. The sense of entertaining everyone is lovely."

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