Stephen Merchant opens up about his ‘great anxiety’ over his ‘master of nothing’ career
Stephen Merchant has explained how he hopes to be considered a “national treasure” ahead of the release of the second series of his Bristol-based show The Outlaws.
Westcountry Star said to the mirror that despite his long career in showbusiness, he feels like he is a “Jack of all trades, master of none”. However, he says he is working to become more popular in his industry.
“My dream is to become a national treasure because my great angst is not to be in the in memoriam film at the BAFTAs when I’m dead,” he said.
Read more: BBC The Outlaws: Stephen Merchant talks Bristol show’s third series
“If I don’t do this, I’m just going to be completely gutted from beyond the grave. All I’m doing is trying to make sure I’m on people’s minds for this in memoriam section.
Merchant has three BAFTAs, two Golden Globes and an Emmy, and has worked as a comedian, writer and director, as well as on stage, television and in Hollywood. But he told the Mirror: “I feel like a jack-of-all-trades, master of nothing.”
“I never chose a path, so I would like to direct a European arthouse film and win an Oscar, but also direct a Marvel film and a thriller. I would also like to do more stand-ups so that people are like, ‘This is one of the greatest stand-ups of all time.
“And then I started to get into more serious acting. I did the play The Serial Killer and I’d like to do a more dramatic act for people to be like, ‘God, we thought that he was just a lanky comedian”.
“Oh my God, the depth of it all. I want to do it all!”
Merchant’s BBC series The Outlaws is due to return to our screens in June 2022. Set in Bristol, the show follows Greg Dillard, a lawyer who has to perform community service after being caught in a position compromising with a prostitute in a parking lot.
And Merchant has now shared the story of how he managed to convince elusive artist Banksy to create a piece for the show’s first series – only to have it destroyed. He managed to let Banksy know that they would like one of his drawings to feature in the show, and he was overjoyed when they arrived on set one morning to find the graffiti artist had jumped the fence during the night to paint a mural of Frank, Christopher Walken’s character.
The art was then destroyed in the closing scenes, and Merchant said, “There was a lot of outrage. People then accused us, “How did the BBC destroy a Banksy?”
“But I have to try to make people understand that it only exists to be destroyed. There was never a situation where I was going to rip it out of the wall and bring it to Sotheby’s. It didn’t never been an option!
But the stunt has sparked even more speculation, in part because of Merchant’s height. He added: “People were like, ‘Is Stephen Banksy?
“If you want to think I’m Banksy, I leave that to your imagination. Some of his art is on high walls.
” I’m tall. I could reach heights. It’s up to you to speculate! »
Merchant also says that after the show’s first season, he was surprised by how many people told him they had done community service themselves.
“I got a few messages from people saying, ‘I did some community service. It’s surprising how many people have done it.
“I was in a gym once and I was training with a trainer and he said he had done a bit of community service. I was suddenly a little worried.
“I immediately went to check my portfolio, but more people than you might think did, including celebrities, that’s why we included a famous person.”