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The Trip to Spain
by Karen Pecota

Trip (noun) A Journey or excursion, especially for pleasure.

Filmmaker Michael Winterbottom embarks on his third culinary road trip with renown comedic actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip to Spain.

Winterbottom's Trip Film Series began with The Trip in 2011 using a simple premise for the storyline. The actor/comedian Steve Coogan (who plays himself) is commissioned to write a travel article for U.K.'s Observer newspaper. The assignment is that he must visit and critique cuisine from famous restaurants in the British Lake District of northern England. Coogan invites his good friend, Rob Brydon (who plays himself) to join him on the week long assignment. Their once-in-a-lifetime adventure makes way for intense conversations discussing their hopes, their fears and the cultural history of the area while trying to outdo each other with their hilarious impressions of celebrities.

The film was so successful that it encouraged a sequel to follow in 2014, The Trip to Italy. Once again the two comedians, Coogan and Brydon journey from Italy's Piedmont to Capri using the same premise as the previous film. Winterbottom scores again, much to his surprise. His Trip film # 2 is a hit.

Historical and cultural subjects are a big part of each film's script that requires an enormous amount of research and preparation. Each trip takes on a life of its own featuring poets, writers and other such artists famous to the scenic countries.

In the first film the two subjects Coogan and Brydon chose to spotlight were Wordsworth and Coleridge. The second film they connected with Byron and Shelley. The Trip to Spain takes on the subjects of Don Quixote, George Orwell, Laurie Lee, the Spanish Civil War and the Spanish Inquisition.

Ironic and funny correlations come to light notes producer Josh Hyams. In his dry sense of humor he states, "Don Quixote is essentially a comedy about two middle-aged men bumbling through Spain", similar to Coogan and Brydon.

Coogan notes that an important aspect of the road map for Winterbottom's Trip Series, "Michael literally does the journey himself, with his producer Melissa Parmenter. They go and explore, eat at all the restaurants and basically do it all ahead of us, without cameras, then come back and say, 'This is the route.’”

Then it’s crazy to think that a 60-page outline is the only written material the actors have to their avail. The key to Winterbottom's success is to allow his cast and crew a freedom of expression, fun and the creativity for a natural storyline to develop. Less is More!

And, there you have it, while Coogan and Brydon are on another exotic culinary assignment the pair exchanges their ritual banters and celebrity impressions; but, true to form with close friends, one can't help but share serious reflections and discussions on the meaning of middle age while on The Trip to Spain.