It’s probably somewhat difficult to spend four years working on 84 episodes of a TV show with someone without acquiring a certain respect, or at least fondness, for that person—even if that person is the notoriously difficult-to-work-with comedian Chevy Chase. So when Joel McHale was invited to play a younger version of Chase in A Futile And Stupid Gesture—David Wain’s upcoming biopic on National Lampoon co-founder Douglas Kenney—the 44-year-old actor felt like he owed it to his old Community co-star to get his blessing.
“I called Chevy to let him know,” McHale revealed to /Film in a recent interview. “I was like, ‘Hey, do you mind if I play…?’ And then we talked a lot about Doug Kenny on the phone call. The movie’s not a joke. … I’m not playing Chevy as a caricature. I am playing him as the white-hot superstar that he was in the ‘70s [who] went from a guy doing Lemmings sketches and radio sketches and playing drums to being the biggest star in America. That time in Chevy’s life, the movie honors it very well in the script.”
Who knows what was going on in the Chase household that day, but the 72-year-old former National Lampoon Radio Hour star was surprisingly fine with the idea, and doesn’t seem to have engaged in much, if any, cursing or threatening. “He was like, ‘Sounds great,’” McHale said. “We talked about Doug [Kenney]. In the phone call, he was very happy that they’re illuminating Doug’s life because he didn’t get enough credit.”
Will Forte will star in A Futile And Stupid Gesture as Kenney, who died at the age of 33 after accidentally falling from a cliff in Hawaii. Aside from McHale, the biopic features impressive cast of comedians and actors playing an even more impressive bunch of trailblazing comedians and actors, such as Domhnall Gleeson as Henry Beard, Thomas Lennon as Michael O’Donoghue, Jon Daly as Bill Murray, and Natasha Lyonne as Anne Beatts. The Netflix original film will premiere on the streaming network sometime in 2017.