Image 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?