We’re going to have to keep this vague.
The Four Lions tour was a huge success, with audiences at every one of our screenings loving the movie. And I’m not just saying that - it was actually a weird experience to see so many people stick around for Q&As, hear such huge laughter and such big gasps at all the right moments and to meet so many people who were just ecstatic about the film. In fact, we only had one or two people who had ‘complaints’ about the film, and they were just saying that they found the movie sad rather than hilarious… but that they loved it as a sad examination of the confused state of suicide bombers.
But there was one audience Chris Morris was excited to play for - people who are on the frontlines of the war on terror in the United States. He had received reports of impromptu screenings for folks in the intelligence community, but Chris hadn’t spoken to a law enforcement audience yet. And so on Thursday night, the day before the film opened, we traveled to an undisclosable location and showed the movie to people from the NYPD.
That’s about all I can tell you about them, but trust me when I say that if anyone was going to call shenanigans on this movie these would be the people eminently qualified to do so. And when the movie ended (it played in a conference room) and the lights came up, it was obvious that they had loved it. They recognized these characters from their own experiences, and they told their own silly terrorist stories.
Then there was a Q&A. Chris later told me he never felt so bogus in his life, standing in front of this crowd and taking their questions about homegrown terrorism when they were obviously more informed than he was. But what was kind of delightful was that these people had pretty much the same questions as everyone else had on the tour. ‘How did you get involved in the project?’ ‘How did you cast the actors?’ ‘Was there a lot of improv?’ And my favorite - ‘What’s your next project?’
Meeting these people was a thrill, and the fact that they enjoyed the movie was just a bonus. That said, when you’re laughing at Four Lions in your local theater you can keep in mind that the film is expert-approved.