The Invention of Lying

Character: Shelley
Directed by: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
Written by: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
Release date: October 2, 2009
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Running time: 1h 40min

“The Invention of Lying” takes place in an alternate reality in which lying–even the concept of a lie–does not even exist. Everyone–from politicians to advertisers to the man and woman on the street–speaks the truth and nothing but the truth with no thought of the consequences. But when a down-on-his-luck loser named Mark suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds that dishonesty has its rewards. In a world where every word is assumed to be the absolute truth, Mark easily lies his way to fame and fortune. But lies have a way of spreading, and Mark begins to realize that things are getting a little out of control when some of his tallest tales are being taken as, well, gospel. With the entire world now hanging on his every word, there is only one thing Mark has not been able to lie his way into: the heart of the woman he loves.

Cast & Characters

Ricky Gervais (Mark Bellison), Jennifer Garner (Anna McDoogles), Jonah Hill (Frank), Louis C.K. (Greg), Jeffrey Tambor (Anthony), Fionnula Flanagan (Martha Bellison), Rob Lowe (Brad Kessler), Tina Fey (Shelley)

Production Photos


Production Notes

“Believe it or not, I’ve cast myself as a tubby, middle-aged loser. It’s a stretch,” quips co-writer/director, producer and star Ricky Gervais, who may be taking his famous self-deprecating humor to a new level in “The Invention of Lying.”

In a world without lies, everyone is a realist. Life is straightforward and simple. There is no imagination, no fiction, nothing that isn’t the absolute truth. So if you were the only person in the world who could lie, what would you do?

This question intrigued Gervais. “I was really attracted to the idea,” he states.

That idea first came to co-writer/director Matthew Robinson after a weekend spent watching episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and reading Harlan Ellison. “Somehow,” he offers, “the combination of those two had given my brain the food for strange, large concepts.” ”

The concept was completely original,” recalls producer Oly Obst.

Declares fellow producer Lynda Obst, “This notion that lying didn’t exist and people said exactly what was on their minds as a matter of course was absolutely intriguing. What the world would be like if people utterly told the truth–completely unfiltered–was both hilarious and sort of philosophically fascinating to me.”