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Jul182009

Zach Galifianakis due for some time in the spotlight

I've been a fan of Zach Galifianakis for a long time now (years!). Unfortunately, he's never gotten a film role that captures his unique brand of awkward humor. Thanks to The Hangover, Hollywood might finally warm up to the guy in the Amber Alert beard.

The Hangover 2 is already planned, but a sequel is two years away. Before that, he's going to team up with Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover series, in Due Date. ScriptShadow reviewed the current draft of the screenplay, and it sounds promising. It's about "an expectant dad (along with an unlikely travel companion, Galifianakis) races cross-country in hopes of making it home for the birth of his first child." It's a road comedy, written by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, who wrote some King of the Hill episodes. Here's what ScriptShadow thinks of the screenplay.

....how a script ends has a huge effect on me and Due Date definitely saves face in the final act, tapping into an emotional component that simply wasn't there for the earlier part of the script. And I think that Ethan (Galifianakis) is going to be a fun character onscreen. For that reason, I'll recommend this, but only by a sliver.

From the review, Due Date sounds like it could be a decent vehicle for Galifianakis, though I hope Phillips makes some changes, and adds some crazy shit to the mix, like he did with The Hangover. I'd really like to see more of Galifianakis, and if this movie bombs, it could prevent that.

Zach Galifianakis has been a stand-up presence for more than a decade now, but his acting career has been a bit rough. 2001's Out Cold was Zach's closest brush with fame, and it bombed at the box office. The MTV film, about a group of snowboard instructors trying to save their mountain from a corporate takeover, grossed only $13.9 million domestically.

I saw it though, and found Galifianakis quite hilarious. He played Luke, a drunken janitor at the ski lodge, and carried a lot of the best humor in the film. In my favorite scene, he has passed out after a long night of drinking and his friends decide to play a prank. They load him into the car, put him behind the wheel, and several people outside the car start spinning it around in circles. Sitting next to him, his friends start screaming bloody murder, waking him up. He freaks out. It was awesome.

He also had a short-lived late night show on VH1, Late World With Zach. It was great, but the network cancelled him pretty quick. That was the year VH1 started it's I Love the 80s series, and was trying to expand it's brand beyond alternative rock videos. They should have kept him on the air longer. Here's a clip from one of the last episodes.

Since then, he's been on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim a lot, and acted in some smaller roles. I didn't even realize it was him in Into the Wild. He played Kevin, who told Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) how to cut and preserve the meat from a large animal, like a moose or deer. He made no jokes at all, and showed that he's a pretty good actor, if given a decent role.

Here's a clip from Tim and Eric, on Adult Swim.

For an example of Galifianakis' interviewing skills, here's an online show he hosts: Between Two Ferns.

The New York Times wrote up a very long and detailed piece on Zach, which you can read here. More on Zach Galifianakis (pronounced Gal-If-In-Ack-iss) as I hear it!

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