Written by Sheila Roberts Tuesday, 22 June 2010 20:55
We pin down Brit lothario Russell Brand to get the lowdown on his new comedy Get Him To The Greek
Get Him to the Greek reunites Jonah Hill and Russell Brand with Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller in the story of a young record company executive with three days to drag an uncooperative rock legend to Hollywood for a comeback concert. The comedy is the latest film from hit producer Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People).
Russell Brand plays British rocker Aldous Snow, a brilliant musician and certifiable rock-‘n’-roll legend, who due to a bad break-up and nose-diving career, has fallen off the wagon and is now a walking disaster. When he learns his true love, model/pop star Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), is in Los Angeles, Aldous makes it his quest to win her back…right before kick-starting his return to world domination.
We sat down with the charming Brand in Los Angeles to talk about his new movie. He told us about the pressures of continuing the Aldous Snow role, his wild adventures hanging out with Puffy in Las Vegas, and what it was like to fulfill his rock star fantasies on stage at the Greek. He also updated us on his upcoming remake of Arthur.
Are you a method actor?
Very method, methodical. What I did was I heard that Daniel Day Lewis went and lived as a cobbler for three months in Italy. I immediately got a job as a plumber in Havana. It went well for a while. I infiltrated Fidel Castro’s secret network of spies. I’m still working for him now and unless you lot start being a bit more communist, there’s going to be some gunfire, let me tell you.
Did you hang out with any rock stars to get inspiration for this?
I do hang out with some rock stars just because they’re my friends. I’ve hung out with Pete Doherty a bit. [Amy] Winehouse, she’s my mate. Carl Barat out of the Libertines, he’s a mate of mine and contributes to the soundtrack. So I count some rock stars among my friends.
Noel Gallagher especially is a mate of mine and from him I learned this kind of inherent nonchalance that rock stars have. I was so troubled by this nonchalance I took to inquiring as to why it was going on. “Why are you so nonchalant, Noel?” Then there followed a brief time while I explained the word nonchalant... Not really, Noel Gallagher is a brilliant man and poet, but I did have to explain that word. Then he said, “It’s because I know that anywhere I go, whatever happens to me, no matter what people say, as long as I’ve got the guitar and the ability to play, people will pay 10 quid to come and see me.” So I thought that’s good. Aldous Snow is a person that knows that people will pay money if he’s got his gift, whereas a comedian or whatever, you tend to be more neurotic about stuff like that.
Are you looking forward to playing Arthur? Do you know who’s playing your costar?
I am looking forward to playing Arthur. I’m excited about it because I love Dudley Moore. My dad’s from the same place as him, Dagenham. Helen Mirren is playing the John Gielgud role, the Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren playing the John Gielgud role as a nanny because remember, I’m much more a person that tends towards feminine things. I like women and that so I’m easier around women. Not that I dislike men. You’re a wonderful bunch but women I prefer. I think it’s these reasons. Boobs and vaginas. So Helen Mirren. The love interest, that role will be reprised by Liza Minnelli. She will be revisiting the role and I am going to have an on set romance with that woman. I’m going to turn her spine to chalk...
When do you start shooting?
July. Actually, the role is being taken by the brilliant actress Greta Gerwig from the film Greenberg with Ben Stiller. She’s a very, very wonderful actor. I’m thrilled to be working with her. She’s excellent. She’s an amazing actress.
Are you still working on Drop Dead Fred?
The script is being developed. I think these things happen in Hollywood and sometimes lead to something and sometimes to nothing. Through certain things I’ve learned, I have no attachment to the outcome but will patiently just see what happens. But I would love to be a childhood imaginary friend. That’d be cool.
Do you think this character of Aldous Snow will resurface again?
This character keeps resurfacing like a corpse abandoned in the Thames. We will never be free of it, never, unless we tie concrete to his ankles and abandon him in some deeper body of water. I think perhaps it will return again and again. Perhaps it will be like the new James Bond or Sherlock Holmes, constantly played. 16 movies, Basil Rathbone will have a go, Sean Connery. That’s my feeling.
What was your first meeting with Puffy like?
Man, he made me go to Vegas. There was no Faustian discussion but there was an immediate Faustian pact. Puffy took us to Vegas, took me and Jonah individually. My trip to Vegas went thusly. We went and Ricky Hatton was fighting, right? Puffy goes, “Could you get us tickets to the Ricky Hatton fight?” Something about Puffy when he asks you a question, he makes you want to say yes. You know, like “Yes.” I couldn’t. What am I going to do? I got Ricky’s number off Noel Gallagher but Ricky Hatton two days before a fight with Manny Pacquiao is busy training for the fight with Manny Pacquiao. So I was ringing up Ricky’s answer phone. “Ricky, hello. Uh, good luck with the fight. Could I get some tickets for that boxing match that you’re in? Okay, bye.” Right, he didn’t answer, reply or respond so then Noel, “Noel, get us these tickets.” In the end, one of my mates got us tickets. Then Puffy goes, “These tickets have got to be nearer to the front.” There are special rules. There’re special rules for it. I didn’t know that. You’ve got to be nearer to Jay-Z who was also there. So I didn’t get the special tickets. Actually, I did, off someone I think who owned Planet Hollywood or something.
Then I was on a private jet with Puffy. Puffy told me specifically that I was to wear a long fuchsia scarf for the journey. He goes, “I want you to arrive at that airport two hours late wearing a fuchsia scarf dragging behind you on the tarmac.” I said, “That’s bloody specific. Normally it’s just a passport.” But he was particular. So I couldn’t get one but I did get a bronze cowboy hat, not material bronze, the color. A bronze cowboy hat would be dangerous for my vertebrae. I’m not a Neanderthal. So I got a cover hat that was the color bronze. I regretted it as soon as I sat down next to him but it was two late to take it off. It had affected the hair underneath it. So I was wearing it for ages. Anyway, we went to the fight. Then when Ricky, went down in the second and Puffy jumped on a chair. There’s like 25,000 mancs in that room and I’m standing next to a geyser jumping up on a chair while Ricky was on the deck. I was self-conscious because Jay-Z is here, Puffy is there on a chair, Ricky’s there on the floor, 25,000 mancs just there, me there. This is not a good look. So I just tried to play it low key. It’s difficult to do that in those circumstances. It’s made me go a bit against boxing. It’s violent!
How about the threesome scene?
Yeah, that was kinky, eh? Yeah, there’s one bit where my bum was at. I had to take my trousers and pants down in the shot and they were shooting from behind me. The cameraman, Casey, the camera’s there and I pulled my trousers and pants down. I didn’t mean to pull my underpants down, it was a mistake. I carried on acting, trying my best to do good acting and the cameraman, Casey, in the middle of the scene, in a sensitive, closed set situation went, “Can we stop now ‘cause this is horrible.” I thought he was talking about my bottom. I felt shy about it.
Was there anything else dangerous?
Here is a list of things that went wrong with me for which I’m still considering legal action. In the scene where I’m on the stage of the Greek performing, there is a shower of sparks, right? They put me in the wrong place one time and the shower of sparks all landed on me. I just thought, “Should this be happening?” I thought about continuing to act but it’s hard when there’s all those hot things landing on you. It was being stabbed. It was a peculiar storm of fire. So I asked if it could stop now and then there was a break for it. It was quite good. I got a lot of attention immediately after. “Oh, sorry, that should never have happened to you. Are you all right?” I laid down on a couch for a while, just milked it. Another time, I was in Trafalgar Square and I got pushed into a fountain. That was weird. Then another time, Rose Byrne hit me. Another time I had to do a threesome. The whole thing actually is the sort of thing that people describe after being released from Guantanamo Bay.