TV

Warwick Davis Gets Big Laughs in Life’s Too Short

Warwick Davis and Ricky Gervais prove they're a winning combination

Credit: HBO

Life’s Too Short creators Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais surround the show’s star, Warwick Davis

Ricky Gervais strikes gold with Warwick Davis

Warwick Davis has appeared in some of the most successful films of all time, including Return of the Jedi and several Harry Potter movies, yet you’re probably looking at his photo on this page with no idea who he is.

That’s because the three-and-a-half-foot-tall actor is usually hidden beneath layers of latex and special-effects makeup for his roles, which have included a greedy goblin, a furry Ewok, an evil leprechaun and even a paranoid android. 

This is the kernel from which sprang Life’s Too Short, a new comedy series from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras) in which they and Davis explore the travails of being a “Hollywood dwarf” by playing fictionalized versions of themselves.

Warwick Davis Turns Heel for Gervais

Unlike the real-life Warwick Davis — who’s actually quite charming — Gervais describes the Life’s Too Short version as “a conniving, back-biting little Napoleon” whose attempts at self-aggrandizement inevitably conclude in humiliation. In the midst of a nasty divorce and struggling to pay a massive tax bill, fictional Davis allows a documentary crew to film him in hopes it will boost his fading career. 

“He’s used his own name, but it’s not like him at all,” says Gervais of the differences between the real Davis and the fictionalized character. “This man is manipulative. He’s exploitive. He’s jealous. We have to make him an awful person, because Warwick, his screen presence is adorable . . . we had to make him like a Hitler for you to get the gag.” 

Gervais and Merchant don’t come across much better, playing themselves as snide, arrogant jerks who barely conceal their disdain for Warwick’s obsequious pleas for favours. This is also true of the celebrities who appear in cameos. A-listers such as Sting, Johnny Depp and Liam Neeson all play hilariously twisted versions of themselves — Neeson is a standout in a bit that depicts him as a humourless stiff making a ridiculously inept attempt at improv comedy.

Gervais isn’t breaking any new ground — you won’t see much here that you haven’t already seen in his previous series – but Life’s Too Short will undoubtedly prove entertaining to the legions of fans who appreciate his edgy brand of politically incorrect, cringe-inducing comedy.

Life’s Too Short airs Sunday nights on HBO Canada.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.