Helen Mirren + Russell Brand = What?

Helen-Mirren-Russell-BrandImage Credit: Solarpix/PR Photos; Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosWell, they’re both British. Oscar-winner Helen Mirren is in negotiations to star opposite comedian Russell Brand in a remake of the 1981 hit comedy Arthur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the film, Brand takes over Dudley Moore’s title role as a drunken millionaire playboy who will inherit a fortune so long as he agrees to marry the woman his family chooses for him. However, Arthur falls in love with a working-class waitress and then has to decide between his own love for her and his family’s approval. In the original movie, Arthur’s valet (John Gielgud, who won a supporting actor Oscar) served as Arthur’s father figure. In the remake, that character will be replaced by Arthur’s longtime nanny, a role that Mirren seems perfect for. Then again, is there such a thing as a role that Helen Mirren couldn’t handle?

And now that I’ve laid out the details, let’s address the elephant in the room: Helen Mirren and Russell Brand as costars. How many sideways universes would it take before we wound up with an even more unlikely comedic pair? I’m guessing 4,815,162,342. But yes, it’s a way-out-there casting choice, and yet sort of brilliant the more you think about it. Even though Mirren has only dabbled in comedy before (see Calendar Girls, for instance), she’ll be more than game. The real question is Russell Brand, whose career is going into hyperdrive this year. (Brand has parts in Get Him to the Greek, Despicable Me, and The Tempest, all of which are due to hit theaters in 2010). We know Brand can excel in supporting roles (Forgetting Sarah Marshall being the prime example), but can he support an entire movie? And can he support a movie in which his costar has won so many acting accolades that she’s previously joked about building a shrine to herself in her own home?

PopWatchers, what do you make of this Mirren-Brand cocktail? Sort of genius, or a catastrophe waiting to happen? And can you recall an even stranger comedic pairing from another film?

Comments (31 total) Add your comment
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  • Emily

    Helen Mirren is in the Tempest too.

  • Nic.

    Can’t Hollywood come up with an original movie idea? Why remake Arthur?

    • Dinjab

      So they can do a horrible hip-hop autotune version of Arthur’s Theme (when you wake up, yo, between the moon and, New York City, yo, uh huh)

      • anna


  • Monica

    I doubt you could remake Arthur today — the fact that he’s an alcoholic just isn’t going to read as funny any longer. If they did a slightly different take on it, with him simply being irresponsible and bizarre — maybe?

  • Heather

    I don’t think they should mess with Arthur, it is great on its own and I can’t see Brand doing it any kind of justice

  • Madd

    Helen Mirren could totally make it work. In fact she’d probably be Oscar worthy.
    I love Helen Mirren.

  • LOL

    I’d love to be a young-ish actor and have a sex scene with Helen. She’s on fire!

    • Gazza

      I don’t thinks that’s going to happen for mr brand in this movie

  • sam

    I would love to see this. Helen is incomparable and Russell is a better actor than most people think

  • I heart older women

    I just rubbed one out to Helen.

  • LOL

    Brand is very funny.

    • paige

      and just soo damn repulsive. seriously, look at that picture- it just screams “STD”

      • Minisha

        Paige, you offend me with your russell-hate. :)

  • Lynette

    Loved original Arthur- but it has been a very long time. I bet they put a new spin on it- that goes without saying with casting Russell Brand- and produce a fun and upbeat movie!

    • RyRyNYC

      what a retarded statement.

      • Minisha

        I agree with them actually. Since Dame Helen Mirren seems to genuinely adore Russell, I’m sure they’ll have a new and dynamic chemistry on camera.

  • Bruce L

    A weirder comic pairing than Russell Brand and Helen Mirren? How about Dudley Moore and John Gielgud?

  • Jackie

    I think Russell Brand is the main star with Jonah Hill in Get Him to the Greek. So I think he can support an entire movie. My question is can he act? He is really the right actor for the role? I have my doubts.

    • Dinjab

      Jonah Hill and Helen Mirren in a remake of Harold and Maude.

    • Maz

      I don’t think Brand can ‘act’ – he plays it real!

      • Minisha

        He acted well In “Cold Blood” *shrugs*

        He played a screwed-up stalker.

  • ummmmm

    Isn’t Helen Mirren his costar in The Tempest as well?

    • Minisha

      Yes! Russell played Trinculo in The Tempest.
      Helen Played Prospero.

  • patzin

    Russell and Helen Mirren worked in The Tempest together. Not a new pairing, but of course Arthur will be considerably different.

  • jim

    Drunkenness isn’t funny. Maybe Brand will be high on something other than booze.

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