By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
I’ve seen a lot of big acts at the Greek theater in Los Angeles, but I’ve never seen a fictional character play there before. When Get Him to the Greek was shooting there last year, I saw Aldous Snow perform two of his hit sogs. Aldous Snow is the character Russell Brand played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and now he has his own movie.
On Set: Get Him to the Greek
“It’s more fun to play him on drugs because now it enables me to relive the better aspects of my own drunken hell without some of the terrible consequences,” Brand said. “I think it was written with my personal problems in mind so yes, I was able to bring a lot of that to the script. I went through all of those years with a crack and heroine addiction I might as well get some money out of it. It cost enough. It was expensive. You get beaten up and go to crack houses. There’s a down beat in a crack house.”
Brand ventured off stage and into the audience to interact with extras playing Aldous Snow fans, who were probably Russell Brand fans in real life. Performing music was a different experience from Brand’s usual standup comedy. “It differs almost entirely because as a music performer you stand on the stage saying, ‘Look at me. Look at me. F*ck me I’m so sexy.’ As a comedian you stand on stage saying, ‘Oh this awful thing happened. I banged my leg. Don’t look at me.’ There is a bit of embarrassment and humiliation. Whereas a musical performance is about self-aggrandization.”
“Aldous” performed the songs “Going Up” and “Bangers, Beans and Mash” for a crowd of 5000 extras at the Greek Theater the night we were there. “’Bangers, Beans and Mash,’ the title of the song is neither a euphuism for sex nor an English dish both of which Jason is unaware of I imagine because otherwise why would have written it. You don’t eat bangers, beans and mash. You don’t want ketchup getting in the mash. You want gravy with mash and bangers. Also a working class euphuism for tits is bangers as well so these things play in my mind.”
Get Him to the Greek
So it’s a metaphor, but it’s the wrong metaphor. “No, it’s not a metaphor because it has no reality other than its own very specific notion so it has no comparative of value. It is not a metaphor because it’s just itself. It can’t mean anything else.”
It was 2:30 AM by the time Brand had a break to talk to us. He was still on fire comedically. “Eventually you lose context. Like now it’s so late, I can’t remember what not late is. I’m so tired I can’t remember what not tired is. When you’re a bit tired, you think ‘Hang on I’m a bit tired.’ Now it’s just like insanity. When your internal context overrides external reason and regulation. I’m now so deep into tiredness I know no other state.”
A notorious ladies man, Brand could certainly have his pick of any of the lovely local extras playing the audience. They came decked out in T Shirts for Sorrow Suckers (Snow’s old band was Infant Sorrow) and some blatantly saying “I F***ed Aldous Snow.” Brand remains magnanimous about it. “I think it’s unfair to pick with extras. I think you just have to do them all.”
Get Him to the Greek opens to theaters on June 4th.