Russell Brand as ARTHUR parades in New York

Symon Cordova

August 30th, 2010

Russell Brand as Arthur

Who doesn't love the ridiculously rich, completely wasted, yet cuddly and often sweet Arthur Bach?  If you have not seen the original 1981 ARTHUR starring Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli and John Gielgud then go out and rent it- nay, buy it.   It is a classic piece of 80's comedy,  I grew up watching it regularly, my father taped it off tv and we would watch it all the time; of course I did not appreciate large parts of it until I was much older and realized the skill Moore had as acting as a perfectly acceptable drunk, one who you would have no problem taking home to the fam ( minus the hooker).

As you may now, Russell Brand has been cast as Arthur in the remake of ARTHUR and many scenes have been captured out in the midst of the bustling New York traffic; we have seen him running along the street in nothing but blue-and-purple briefs and most have seen the pics of him parading in a very chiseled physique Batman suit. Now we see him sporting the classic ARTHUR look with top-hat and all.  As far as remakes go sometimes they fall so short of our nostalgic expectations, this though seems to have great potential.

Check out the full story, after the break.

One of these is not only Russell Brand but Helen Mirren as Gielgud’s character Hobson. This small change from a butler to a nanny adds the personality flaw of Arthurs desire to never grow up.  Mirren says,

“It’s unbelievable. I’m just glad it’s a comedy, because if I had to do dramatic acting with 30 cameras going off, it would be hopeless." She also had this to say about the original ARTHUR when she saw it. “I just didn’t think a film about a drunken small guy was remotely funny, The reality about alcoholics is that they’re boring and tedious, and I’d spent enough nights in pubs with drunken boys to know it was not something I’d ever want to be caught up in. And I particularly objected to the way women were depicted — which was something I felt about most movies I saw back then — as kind of slave-enablers.”  And apparently  Jason Winer (Modern Family)  felt similarity after re-watching it as well.  Him, Brand and Peter Baynham all agreed to take Arthur on a path that would allow him to grow into a more decent individual.

The script itself has gone not only through so many re-writes but is constantly changing, even down to the seconds before a take.  Baynham is on the set every day ready to rewrite. “Whatever makes the film better,  You’d be crazy, as a writer, to have someone like Russell and not take the opportunity to revise and improve on the spot, given his improvisational skills.  Baynham and Winer’s collaboration is close and constant. Winer said “I want input, When you direct TV, everybody feels completely free to tell you what you should do differently, and I welcome that.”

Liza Minnelli's character (Linda Marolla) and Brand's love interest is being played by Greta Gerwig (THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and GREENBERG).  According to producer Kevin McCormick, better known actresses had tested with Brand but Gerwig “was the one who brought out a sweetness in him and also the one who could keep up with him.”  Liza Minnelli herself had a quick wit in the original film, so Gerwig has some shoes to fill.

Another interesting thing in this film is how Russell Brand is getting into his character- Brand himself became sober several years ago and to get into the mindset of a sea leg ridden drunken man, he smells some booze thats kept at the bottom of water bottle. Winer says “It’s a little bit Methody, to get the memory back into his body, I think he feels that he needs to get close to it, and he’s very, very careful about it.”

More will come with more sneak peaks. I know I am earglery anticipating the trailer.  That is all for now, stay tuned for more in the coming months.

Source: NYTimes Movies

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