Can you imagine a live-action movie adaptation of The Far Side, the popular comic series by reclusive cartoonist Gary Larson? Somebody in Hollywood sure did, as there was once an attempt in Tinseltown to do just that. For better or for worse, the project fizzled out before it could make any real traction, but not before a group of actors made up to look like Far Side characters had screen-tested for the movie.
The revelation comes straight from actor Dirk Blocker (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), who divulged his followers with this information on Twitter. Blocker was actually attached to the project to appear in a main role alongside John Larroquette. The planned movie was to be written and directed by Alan Rudolph. It ultimately wasn’t meant to be, but Blocker does appear in a pair of images featuring the actors, which you can take a look at below.
“Many years ago we were part of a test for a Far Side film. Sadly, nothing came of it, but we had a grand time,” Blocker said. In a previous post on Instagram sharing the same images, Blocker also wrote: “TBT came across this from a Far Side screen test many moons ago. Didn’t go anywhere but we laughed a lot & got to meet the amazing Gary Larson.”
Written and illustrated by Gary Larson, The Far Side was originally published between 1979 and 1995. The comic strip remained very popular for years to come and Larson continued to sell annual calendars and other merchandise featuring the classic comics. After a 25-year hiatus, Larson picked up the pen to revive The Far Side, creating new one-frame panels on his personal website. He also makes classic cartoons available for fans to enjoy.
Maybe the live-action movie wasn’t meant to be, but The Far Side was able to get an animated television special. In 1994, Larson produced Tales from the Far Side, a 30-minute program featuring animations and gags in the style of Larson’s comic series. A followup special, Tales from the Far Side II, was made three years later, arriving two years after the comic strip series had ended. It only aired in the UK on BBC but was not broadcast on American TV. The specials have since been released on VHS and DVD.
Blocker is perhaps best known for his role as Detective Hitchcock on the popular comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a role he’s been playing since 2013. That show will end with its upcoming eighth and final season. Previously, he had a starring role as pilot Jerry Bragg on the classic TV series Baa Baa Black Sheep. His other TV credits include ER, The X-Files, Quantum Leap, Deadwood, and Criminal Minds. He also appeared in the movies Poltergeist, Prince of Darkness, and Mad City.
We’ll never know what The Far Side: The Movie would have been like, but given the images, we can be sure that the end result would have been insane. To keep up with Larson’s latest work, you can check out his newer comic strips at the official website for The Far Side. This news originated at film.avclub.com.