Monty Python star John Cleese has expressed disdain for modern sensibilities and “PC culture” on several occasions in recent years. The comedian found a new battleground for those convictions by claiming that his plans to mount a stage adaptation of the 1979 comedy “Life of Brian” have been “misreported” by the Daily Mail (in a now amended article), particularly in regards to the potential decision to revive a controversial scene involving a transgender character.
Cleese shared his thoughts in a series of unthreaded posts on Twitter last Thursday.
“A few days ago I spoke to an audience outside London. I told them I was adapting the ‘Life of Brian’ so that we could do it as a stage show (NOT a musical). I said that we’d had a table-reading of the latest draft in NYC a year ago,” Cleese wrote. “All the actors — several of them Tony winners — had advised me strongly to cut the Loretta scene. I have, of course, no intention of doing so.”
In the original film, the scene features a character played by Python member Eric Idle who asks to be called Loretta and voices a longing to bear a child. Cleese’s character in the scene dismisses the request as “ridiculous.”
“These were absolutely top-class Broadway performers and they were adamant that we would not get away with doing the scene in NYC!” Cleese continued. “Producers tend to be scaredy-cats, and they don’t remember that the protests in NYC when ‘Brian’ was released meant we never needed to do publicity!!”
Cleese received criticism from members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community in 2020 when he defended “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who has stated that transgender individuals are “erasing the concept of sex.” Cleese expressed support for Rowling, saying that he was “not that interested in trans folks.”