LLOYD THE CONQUEROR directed by Michael Peterson, written by Andrew Herman and Peterson, with Evan Williams, Mike Smith, Tegan Moss and Brian Posehn. A Vagrant Films release. Opens Friday (November 29). See listing. Read the review.
Brian Posehn can be an imposing guy. He's tall, he's bearded, he wears T-shirts of his favourite metal bands. Oh, and his stand-up album Fart And Weiner Jokes features a death metal cover of Kenny Rogers's The Gambler that sends my dog slinking out of the room.
In person, though, he's a huge nerd - an enthusiastic sweetheart who expounds on his love of comic books and Rush with equal passion. It's this quality that makes him perfect to play a committed live action role-player in the new comedy Lloyd The Conqueror, which brought him to town for its premiere at the Toronto After Dark Festival in October.
"The comedy works so much better because I play it so serious, you know? It's me doing my Ian McKellen. The comedy comes from me being so into this world and so serious about this - ‘This game matters!' But then, oh my god, look how I'm dressed."
It's true. The sight of Posehn striding around in flowing white robes and one of those floppy cleric hats is innately funny. (It's not Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes making wizard hands in Wrath Of The Titans, but still....)
"We did the fitting as soon as I got there," Posehn laughs. "That was the first time I saw it: ‘Oh my god, I look like a giant idiot.'"
Lloyd The Conqueror casts Posehn as Andy, the sage who helps the movie's eponymous Calgary slacker (Evan Williams) find his true calling as the leader of a LARP team - and defeat an obnoxious rival (Mike Smith).
What's remarkable is that there's no condescension in his performance.
"Well, I'm from that world," Posehn says. "I've played D&D for years, I'm a comic book guy. Comic-Con in San Diego is nerd Christmas for me. Nerdiness has always been about obsession. I've never liked something without passion - I've never just ‘sort of' liked something. Whether it's heavy metal, comic books, my wife [laughing] - you know? That's who these guys are. Or at least who Andy and Mike's character are."
Though he himself has never LARPed, Posehn feels he understands the people who do. Dressing up and assuming a mythical role isn't too far removed from his own preferred mode of role-playing in Dungeons And Dragons.
"Playing a badass in D&D is super-appealing to me," he says. "I think too much during my day-to-day life; I'm the guy who worries about everything. So in D&D I love playing the first guy through the door - the guy with the battle-axe. ‘Where are the bad guys? Just point me at 'em!'"