Warner Bros.’ new comedy “Arthur” brings the inspired pairing of charismatic British comedian Russell Brand with Oscar®-winning actress Helen Mirren, in roles based on the 1981 performances of Dudley Moore as Arthur, and Sir John Gielgud as his strait-laced butler.
“Russell and Helen bring their own style and perspective to these two characters in a way that makes you feel you’re seeing old friends in a different light,” states director Jason Winer. “If there’s one actor on the planet who can re-invent this role for a new generation, it’s Russell Brand. And with Hobson as a nanny, played by Helen Mirren, instead of a butler, the idea of the two of them together was irresistible.”
“Arthur’s the man-child to end all man-children,” describes Mirren, whose Hobson is a point of flawless composure amidst the endless whirling party that defines Arthur’s existence as the story opens. But that party could soon be over as he faces a momentous choice between the two young women in his life.
“You can’t have Arthur without Hobson there to smack him on the head now and then and say, ‘What’s wrong with you?,’” adds producer Larry Brezner.
“Since his father died young and his mother is too busy running the business, Hobson is the only real family he’s ever known. She’s his ballast, his rock,” says producer Kevin McCormick. “Strict and formal, she nevertheless adores him and always tells him he can achieve anything he wants—although, lately, she has begun to wonder if he will ever meet that potential.”
In concert with this, what Helen Mirren particularly appreciated about the Hobson role was that, unlike the others in Arthur’s life, “Hobson is not a simple enabler. She’s a strong character. She doesn’t so much stand up to him, because technically he is her employer, but she’s perfectly capable and unafraid of telling him he’s behaving like an idiot and she knows him well enough to send him up. It’s a rich, intense and complicated relationship; there is undeniably a great love there and a great depth of feeling.”
Says Winer, “Helen brings all her regal bearing to the role of the austere nanny but also a delightfully dry wit and comic timing that’s a real kick to watch. She and Russell had a great, playful chemistry together that was not only perfect for the movie but kept going off-camera, which helped to keep all of us entertained.”
“Russell is so incredibly inventive and energetic, just a constant flow of imagination. It’s extraordinary,” she says.
“Working with Helen is inspiring, interesting, a real honor,” Brand responds. “She’s proper but also funny, quirky and totally charming. All in all, I had a great time on this film. I got to kiss Jennifer Garner, I got to kiss Greta Gerwig and I got to kiss Helen Mirren…. Granted, that last one wasn’t in the script.”
Opening soon across the Philippines, “Arthur” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.