We’ve been teased with unofficial shots for what feels like forever, due to much of the filming filming taking place out on the streets of New York. But, finally, we are privy to first official snaps of Mr.Brand sans-facial hair, which means we can ‘officially’ start getting exciting about the film…which is yet to be given a release date.
Arthur is the story of a drunken playboy who stands to lose a big inheritance when he falls in love with a woman his family disapprove of. But the remake has been surrounded by much speculation. Not so much about the cast, which saw Helen Mirren join Brand in the role of Arthur’s butler back in April, followed by Greta Gerwig being cast as the love interest in May. Shortly after, both Nick Nolte and Jennifer Garner also announced their involvement.
But rather, the film has endured a certain amount scrutiny concerning its production. The script was passed through several hands before ending up more or less back where it started, with Borat writer Peter Baynham. It’s also received some premature criticism, as most remakes do, for the ‘modernisation’ changes it makes to the original script. While others have simply asked, ‘Is it really necessary?’ The 1981 film enjoyed box office success, but despite bagging Oscars, was never really considered to be a masterpiece. The sequel was such a failure that its star, Dudley Moore, disowned it completely.
Speaking to the New York Times, both Jason Winer and Helen Mirren also expressed some concerns about the original. They agreed that it had struggled with character development and the portrayal of women, and these were elements they would be looking to improve upon with the remake.
Considering this, serial womaniser Mr.Brand might seem like an odd choice for the lead role. But his recent comic performance in Get Him to the Greek was well received, and Baynham seemed keen to incorporate Brand’s improvisational skills into the repeatedly rehashed script.
On the other hand, scenes of self-indulgence and frivolity are perhaps more likely to generate annoyance from a more modern audience, rather than the feelings of jealously encouraged by the 1981 tagline, ‘don’t you wish you were Arthur?’ Tee-total Brand, who has recently announced the end of his famously flirtatious reputation with his engagement to singer Katy Perry, has a personal life which stands as a testimony against a lifestyle of excess – could his public image, in fact, go some way to aiding the film’s new direction?
Whether or not he’ll bring new meaning to the character, we all know that Russell’s at his best when he’s playing a hedonistic drunk – we’ve seen it before, a few times. Hopefully a trailer will be on it’s way soon – we’ll keep you posted!