Who knew that the free-spirited rocker who couldn’t find his shoe in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, would get his own spin-off? Aldous Snow is as unconventional as his portrayer Russell Brand and even though one is a comedian and the other is a musician they share a lot of the same qualities. They have the same humor, hair, wardrobe, and of course that thick British accent that could only come from Essex, England.
When the actor sat down at a recent press junket to discuss his new film he was just as bubbly and warm as you’d expect him to be. He happily talked about Get Him to the Greek and the tips Noel Gallagher gave him on how to act like a real rock star…
These days Hollywood seems obsessed with sequels, spin-offs, and remakes and Brand joked that Aldous Snow could become a major franchise character that we can never escape.
We will never be free of him. Never. Unless we tie concrete to his ankles and abandon him in some deep body of water. Perhaps he’ll return again. He’ll be like the new James Bond or the new Sherlock Holmes, just constantly played. Basil Rathbone will have a go or Sean Connery (laughs).
Even though he made such a strong impression in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Brand didn’t feel any pressure to go above and beyond with his second portrayal of the character. He wanted to stay consistent and not do anything too off the wall.
I didn’t feel any pressure at all. I knew there had to be some continuity because they liked that character and my relationship with Jonah. That’s why this film was being made. But in a way this is a very distinct and separate film. I think it has a different gravitas and emotional intensity to it. I’m a comic actor and at the beginning of your career you tend to operate from a certain sphere. Say Jim Carrey or whatever. It’s not like after he’d done Ace Ventura and The Mask you think, “What the hell’s going on?!” The comic actors that I like tend to upgrade within a recognizable strata.
Even though Aldous Snow remains his hilarious self in the film, there were a few emotional scenes Brand encountered that took him by surprise.
I actually assumed that the movie would be comedic throughout but I arrived on set and suddenly I was expected to do crying and shouting. Initially, I spoke to my management and said. “They’re asking me to show genuine emotions. Is that in my contract?” They then said that acting done properly encompasses a whole variety and range of emotions and by then it was too late. I’d agreed to it. In retrospect, when I saw the film I thought I was too serious. When it was going on, I kept saying, “I just want to say things that are funny. I don’t like saying things that aren’t funny.” Then when I watched it, I think it makes me look quite cool and deep. So, that’s what I was hoping for.
Brand wanted to play Aldous in a believable way and not just as a parody so he got some inside advice from a few well known musicians.
I did hang out with some rock stars just because they’re my friends. Noel Gallagher he’s one. I hung out with Pete Doherty a bit. [Amy] Winehouse, she’s my mate. She’s more blues I suppose. Carl Barât of The Libertines he’s a mate of mine and contributes to the soundtrack. From [Gallagher] I learned this kind of inherent nonchalance that rock stars have. He said, “Whatever happens to me, no matter what people say, as long as I’ve got a guitar and the ability to play people will pay 10 quid to come and see me.” So Aldous Snow is a person who knows that people will pay him money because he’s got his gift, where as a comedian I tend to be more neurotic about stuff like that.
The one thing the actor didn’t have to fake was his lack of organization. Brand has a small group of people who help him keep his busy life in order.
I’ve outsource responsibility to others. Other people are in charge of that. Danny [his bodyguard] makes sure no one can beat me up. Nick, my manager makes sure I get to places on time. Tom, my assistant makes sure I do stuff. There’s all sorts of people who do stuff. That’s one of the best things about having some money. A lot of things I didn’t like doing I don’t have to do no more.
During the filming of Get Him to the Greek, Brand accumulated a few injuries while on set and they were mostly due to him being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In the scene where I’m on the stage at the Greek performing there’s a shower of sparks. They put me in the wrong place one time and the shower sparks all landed on me. I thought, “Should this be happening?” It’s hard when all these hot things are landing on you. So, I asked if it could stop now. Another time I was in Traverse Square and I got pushed into a fountain. That was weird. And another time Rose Byrne hit me. The whole thing actually is the sort of thing that people describe after being released from Guantanamo Bay.
Get Him to the Greek debuts in theaters nationwide on June 4, 2010.