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No actor in the world works more often than Michael Caine. He is the exemplification of the thespian who has reached the highest peak of his profession. It's understandable, then, why he would be magnetically drawn to a project about a different sort of bloke in this industry.
Tony O'Malley (Caine) has been trying to become successful as an actor for a long time now. All he has to show for it is some debt, more than his fair share of humiliation, and a couple of slow-witted would-be thespians who inexplicably look up to him. One of them, Tom (Dylan Moran of the exceptional British series Black Books), is facing some bad times. His house has burned down, he's dead broke, and he has no place else to turn. When Tom seeks out his mentor, Tony finds the perfect foil to help implement his fullproof plan.
Tony, something of an old school rogue of the acting profession, is looking to pull off a heist. His goal is to trick local criminal underworld heavy (played by Michael Gambon, Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) out of a large sum of cash. The key is to create acting characters who will be believable enough that the thug won't suspect he's being conned. Despite the bumblings and general ineptitude of the two actors, they manage to be just convincing enough to swindle the money. And that's when the real problems begin.
Tony and Tom didn't quite understand what sort of man they were robbing at first. Once they begin to realize how perilous their predicament is, the two seek to do undo their previous theft. They take on more acting roles including a showstoppingly awful Nazi Richard III performance in order to try to make things right. In the process, they encounter the evil Magnani (Black Adder II's adorable Queen Elizabeth, Miranda Richardson), who makes Gambon's Barreller look like a sweet and innocent mousketeer by comparison.
The movie itself will rely upon a Vaudevillian undertone that celebrates an earlier age of acting. Quick wits and the ability to instantly become dozens of characters has come to be known as a Saturday Night Live style of entertainment but once upon a time, it was the only way for struggling thespians to get by. The combination of the comic timing of Moran and the impeccable acting skill of Caine should make for an irresistible combination. (David Mumpower/BOP)