It is directed by Mike Nichols. Idle says he has been trying to sell a comedy-musical since 1986:
Tim Curry is going to play King Arthur, David Hyde Pierce is playing Sir Robin (amongst other things) and Hank Azaria is going to give us Sir Lancelot and an hysterical French Taunter.
So Idle, with the aproval and cooperation of the entire original Pythondome, finally gets his chance. He has taken some creative licence in a few areas, especially in the way of real women:
We tried first adapting an old screenplay of mine called The Road to Mars. It was about a couple of comedians on the road in space but the best moments featured a chorus of quite possibly gay Welsh Robots singing to a Diva they adored:
'Do we love Irena Kent?
Yes we do. Yes we do.
Is she down
from heaven sent?
Yes she be. You can bet your sweet butt she be.'
Still the first white gay Negro spiritual. Nobody bought it.
I don't know about you, but for me a show isn't a show without leggy girls in spangly tights putting their legs over their heads. And that's just backstage. But in the movie apart from the Witch and the memorable bathroom scene with Zoot and the Maidens who ask Galahad for a spanking, (a Broadway number if ever there was one), it's all guys.Spamalot shan't be a sausage party, which is good for business. He later tries to explain the reason Python often featured men dressed as women:
"Dennis there's some lovely mud over here!"And besides, what's really all that wrong about full grown men trouncing about together while dressed like their mothers?
But, come on, that has to be a guy doesn't it? It's a classic Terry Jones' ratbag. Pure Panto.
For American readers I should perhaps attempt to explain what Panto is, since all English people grow up with it, and it's probably the most popular form of theater in Britain.Here goes: the Pantomime is a Christmas entertainment in the U.K. where the leading man is the Principal Boy who is played by a Girl, who romances the leading girl in tights, so that two girls kiss on stage, while the step mother of the girl is a man in drag, and her two ugly sisters are both men playing women.
I've lost you haven't I? You think we're weird don't you? Let's face it, your eyes have glossed over and you're wondering how we ever managed to take an Empire. It's hopeless. It's like trying to explain cricket to Americans. It's utterly impossible. Let's just say that Panto is an odd hybrid of Vaudeville, Stand-up, Drag show, Variety, Revue, Broadway Musical and Fairy Tale. It's full of double-entendres and cheap theatrical effects - well Spamalot really.