Helen Mirren: Russell Brand was “intimidating” and “scary”

Helen Mirren thought her Arthur co-star, Russell Brand, was “an intimidating person” before they began filming, even though they’d worked together before. She told Stylist: “We had worked on The Tempest together but never really spent time together until this. Russell is quite an intimidating person.” However, the 65-year-old admitted that she “fell in love” with Brand when she got to know him, saying, “He’s so brilliant and rock and roll and I feel so boring and ordinary next to him. So it was quite scary. And I’m not very good at edgy, modern comedy. But in the film meeting I saw this incredibly bright and interesting person making this thing happen — and I fell in love.” While talking to Tribute, she revealed: “I looked at him with awe a lot of the time — what you see on my face [in the film] is awe. I grew more and more to love him as the days went on.”

As it turns out, Russell was equally scared to work with Helen, because of her status as an Oscar winner and the fact that she’s been named a “Dame of the British Empire.” He said: “I was frightened before I met her, it made me talk a bit different — like my breathing changed.” He told Tribute: “We got on very well making The Tempest but it was only while making Arthur that I really saw what a beautiful person she is. The relationship I have with her in the film, that’s similar to our actual relationship.”

Putting on an imperious British accent he imitated Helen, saying: “Oh Russell. What are you doing? Why don’t you hurry along?” He joked: “She sort of treats me like that in actual life. She’s a little more sexy than Hobson, you’ve got to say, Helen Mirren. But she does have that sense of being able to boss you around and it’s kind of nice.” 

In the movie, Mirren plays Arthur’s nanny, and our interviewer, Bonnie, commented: “Sexy nannies sometimes don’t work,” to which Russell replied, “If you googled it, it would work,” adding, “but I don’t think it would work as a babysitting system.” ~Alexandra Heilbron

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Andrea • April 14, 2011 @ 12:20 AM

    I loved both of them in Arthur, but especially Russell. I’d never seen him in a movie before and wasn’t really sure who he was, other than Katy Perry’s husband, but he was so sweet and funny in it that I’m a fan now. And he sounds like a sweetheart in real life, too. I watched the interview and he is so quick witted. He never has to stop and think, he just comes out with these zingers, he had me laughing out loud. I voted for him in the poll at the left. I usually don’t like “comedians turned actors” but he’s an exception.

  2. Amana • April 14, 2011 @ 10:34 AM

    I saw him in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and he was funny in that too. I am beginning to really like this guy. He comes across so interesting and charming in all his interviews!!

  3. Helen • April 14, 2011 @ 12:08 PM

    @Amana @Andrea I agree! I wasn’t sure if I’d like Russell Brand’s comedy, but I saw Arthur and thought he was great (and Helen Mirren too!)

  4. Janesse • April 14, 2011 @ 12:15 PM

    I thought Russell Brand was great in Arthur — his chemistry with Helen Mirren is amazing. In Arthur as in Sarah Marshall and even Get Him to the Greek, he does this gentle and goofy thing that makes the raunchy bits even funnier (and sometimes I start giggling just from what he’s wearing.)

  5. Tayderhead • April 14, 2011 @ 2:13 PM

    Nope, this guy turned me off even watching the previews, so have no desire to watch “Arthur”, – don’t even like the looks of him. Never heard of him before and don’t care to hear of him again.
    Helen Mirren, I LOVE!!!!!

  6. Connie • April 14, 2011 @ 2:38 PM

    Wow, talk about having a closed mind. You might actually love him. Everyone I know who’s seen it thought he was adorable in it. I wasn’t all that keen on the way he looks either, but after seeing it, I think he’s really cute so I went to his official site and watched him on a British adlib type of show and he’s so upbeat and positive. He’s a breath of fresh air, which is exactly the opposite of what I expected. I think people get preconceived notions just from someone’s looks without giving them a chance, that’s how prejudice starts. Anyway, I want to see his earlier movies now.

  7. Radnell • April 14, 2011 @ 4:51 PM

    He’s a freaking genius, that’s what he is.

  8. Thibz • April 14, 2011 @ 10:55 PM

    Funny how an accent come make the ugliest male/female look good. Its almost like a mask lol.

  9. Thibz • April 14, 2011 @ 10:55 PM

    can make lol

  10. Kags • April 15, 2011 @ 12:15 AM

    he just looks goofy, lmao

  11. bettina • June 20, 2011 @ 10:20 PM

    He’s a total rock star.

  12. Ass • February 3, 2013 @ 7:36 PM

    Russell Brand scares me too.

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