Is he having a laugh?! Is he having a laugh?!?

Ricky Gervais eyes the Riddler
Until now, Ricky Gervais has made a career out of playing socially awkward misfits.
First, there was David Brent, the foot-in-mouth paper company chief on the British ìOffice.î Then he played Andy Millman, a hopelessly misguided thespian who dreams of stardom on ìExtras.î
Bit parts in ìFor Your Consideration,î ìNight at the Museumî and ìStardustî followed.
So with his television characters reaching cult-like status, Gervais was methodical when it came time to selecting his first leading role.
ìIíve been in this business for seven years and I still pinch myself,î he told a roomful of journalists at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week.
But when he read the script for ìGhost Town,î he fell in love.
ìIt has a nice underlying message,î director and co-writer David Koepp said, ìwhich is: ëDonít be a dick.íî
In the film, which opens September 19, Gervais plays misanthropic dentist Bertram Pincus who, after a minor mishap on the operating table, can see dead people.
The problem is, they annoy him.
When they see him on the street, ghosts with unfinished human business beg him to help them tie up loose ends.
One particularly pushy spirit, Frank (played by Greg Kinnear), agrees to keep them away from Pincus if heíll help break up the impending nuptials between his former wife (played by Tea Leoni) and her straight-arrow fiancÈe.
Pincus takes him up on his offer, but gets more than he bargained for when he starts to feel the pangs of love.
ìWhat are you saying?î Gervais said to a reporter who questioned the funnymanís authenticity as a romantic lead. ìIíve got the bone structure,î he added with a slight tug of his jowls. ìItís just well hidden.î
Before taking the role, Gervais had some rules.
ìI donít kiss anybody; I wonít talk to myself alone and I will probably ruin at least 30 percent of the scene takes I do,î he said.
Why no kissing?
“No one wants to see that,î he shot back. ìAnd no one would believe it.î
Even though the film deals with death, Gervais, an avowed atheist, said the story didnít shake his view of the afterlife.
“I don’t believe in ghosts or fairies or ESP or any of those things.” Gervais knows his big-screen body of work is just getting started. Still, heís looking forward to playing the villain.
“I’d like to play a bad guy, like the worst person ever,” he deadpanned. “Hannibal Lecter, but with less moral conscience.î
The Riddler?
ìIs that one open?î he replied. ìWhat are the hours?î
“Ghost Town” opens in theaters on September 19th.