'Willow' star Warwick Davis' comedy series 'Life's Too Short' coming to HBO in 2012
Warwick Davis of "Willow," "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" fame is coming to U.S. television, thanks in part to Ricky Gervais.
Davis, a 41-year-old British actor who has dwarfism, is the star of a new seven-episode mocumentary series called "Life's Too Short," which premiered in the actors' native UK earlier this month. It is set to debut on HBO in the United States on Feb. 19, 2012 at 10:30 p.m., right after the season 3 premiere "Eastbound & Down," according to a statement from the cable network.
"Life's Too Short" depicts a satirical account of Davis' life. It also stars Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who wrote, directed and produced the series.
"'Life's Too Short' is another naturalist observational comedy, dealing with everyday problems, human foibles and social faux pas... but with a dwarf," Gervais said in a statement posted by the BBC, which airs the show on its channel BBC Two.
The show has been met with mixed reviews in the UK. One critic wrote in the newspaper "The Guardian" that "Life's Too Short" is "blatantly offensive" and makes a "mockery of the discrimination that little people face daily." In one episode, Davis is seen trying to break into his home through a dog door.
Despite the backlash, the actor said on Twitter on November 21 that Gervais is "a fantastic & generous mentor."
Gervais is known for pushing the limits on comedy. The comedian offended a slew of celebrities - and viewers - with his jokes at the 2011 Golden Globes. However, he was recently picked to host the annual event again.
He and Merchant have worked together for years. They are the creators of the original UK version of "The Office," which aired on BBC Two from 2001 to 2003. Gervais also played the main character, an egotistical office boss.
Steve Carell, who left NBC's U.S. version of the series earlier this year after playing main star and office manager Michael Scott, makes a cameo in "Life's Too Short," as do Johnny Depp (pictured with Davis and Gervais, above), Liam Neeson, Helena Bonham Carter, "So You Think You Can Dance" host Cat Deeley and singer Sting all make cameos on "Life's Too Short."
Gervais and Merchant are also the creators and stars of the hit UK comedy show "Extras." Davis appeared on one episode. He played himself and was called as a "midget" to his face by Merchant, who starred as Gervais' naive acting agent. The series ran from 2005 to 2007 on BBC Two and on HBO.
The "Extras" episode that featured Davis also starred Daniel Radcliffe of the "Harry Potter" films, which featured Davis in two roles - Professor Flitwick and the goblin bank teller Griphook. Davis reprised his parts in the last movie in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2," which was released in July.
Davis, whose first name is pronounced "WAR-rick," has mostly starred in fantasy and sci-fi movies. He began his on-screen career in the 1980s, playing the Ewok Wicket in the 1983 film "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi." He went on to portray a goblin in the cult 1986 David Bowie musical adventure movie "Labyrinth," which also starred Sarah Connelly.
Davis is perhaps best known for his role in the 1988 cult fantasy-adventure film "Willow." He played a farmer who embarks on a quest to save a baby princess and defeat an evil queen. The movie was directed by Ron Howard and also stars Val Kilmer as the warrior Madmartigan and Kevin Pollak as a sharp-tongued, finger-sized, man-like creature.
Davis also appeared in UK television adaptations of two books from "The Chronicles of Narnia." He also appeared in a big-screen version of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" in 2008.
The actor played the main villain in the "Leprechaun" horror films, the first of which starred Jennifer Aniston. He starred in the 1997 movie "Prince Valiant," which stars Katherine Heigl and "True Blood" actor Stephen Moyer. Davis returned to the "Star Wars" universe in 1999, playing several small roles in the prequel film "The Phantom Menace."
In 2000, the actor appeared in the Hallmark mini-series "The 10th Kingdom." A year later, he began playing Flitwick in the first "Harry Potter" film, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
Davis lives in the UK with his wife, Samantha, who played a villager in "Willow." They have two children, Annabel and Harrison. Davis also helps manage his own talent agency that represents short - as well as extraordinarily tall - actors and actress. The UK-based film is called Willow Management.
Check out a promotional video of Ricky Gervais and Warwick Davis, dressed as a frog, talking about "Life's Too Short" below, courtesy of the BBC.