Ghostbusters-obsessed yes man with another voyage of self-discovery
This article is from 2008.
The trailer for a Danny Wallace movie biopic might go something like this:
‘In a time of global terrorism, credit crunching and general fatigue with social networking sites, one committed tea drinker’s relentless optimism in the face of cynicism and pervading gloom made him a bespectacled icon for western civilisation and anybody who enjoyed good company and berking around.’
A little hyperbolic perhaps, but then 31-year-old Wallace, born in Dundee but a trotter of the globe, combines an upbeat, everybloke affability with lively intelligence and the instincts of a shrewd media operator: an author, TV presenter, comedy producer, magazine columnist, DJ and cult leader who correctly answered every question on Mastermind on his chosen subject of Ghostbusters. ‘I could have chosen Bolshevik Russian ballet dancers or the Crimean War,’ he explains. ‘Could have and got nothing.’
In the self-discovery/drunken bet tradition, Wallace’s Join Me, in which he established a cult of kind deeds, and Yes Man, where he agreed to everything, Friends Like These is his latest caper chronicle. Married, approaching 30 and ‘living in a nice part of London’, he discovered a childhood address book full of old friends’ names and resolved to find them all before fixing the guttering. Spanning Dundee to Japan and reuniting him with a German rapper, Fijian chief and time traveller, the book should resonate with anybody who’s ever lost touch.
‘In their eyes, you can see the little boy you used to know. People have an obsession with MySpace and Facebook, all these little clues about friends’ lives, but they tend to stop at an email. I try to turn up at the door.’ Friends Like These has already been movie-optioned. ‘It’s not a movie until it’s a movie,’ he stresses. ‘Join Me is still being developed, but I’ve realised that most films take several hundred years. I think ET was written sometime in the 1700s.’
Nevertheless, Yes Man will be in cinemas this December, starring Jim Carrey. ‘I’m no Hollywood mogul, but I can see a story about a bloke who used to work at Argos might not make an international hit, but they did their own thing and if it’s warm and funny I’ll be happy.’
13 Aug, 8.30pm, £9 (£7).