What could possibly go wrong? One of the most uninhibited personalities in show business, Russell Brand, is getting to do an hour on TV live every week. Luckily for censors, it’s in late night and on cable. FX said that the upcoming 13-episode batch of BrandX With Russell Brand will air in a new live format. The show has expanded from half-hour to one-hour ahead of its return on Thursday, February 7. It will air at 11:30 PM after Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell for a couple of weeks and move to 11 beginning February 28. Upcoming guests include live TV provocateur Kathy Griffin, who recently kissed Anderson Cooper’s crotch live on CNN (February 14), and Dermot Mulroney (February 28).
For a taste of what may be in store, here are some uncensored Brand comments about Sarah Palin at the summer TCA. “What would I ask her? Well I’d go straight for the subtext,” he said. “She’s popular because people want to fuck her, don’t they? That’s why they tolerate the other stuff….OK, that is a mad thing to say about seeing Russia out your window — but the dick don’t lie.”
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Russell Brand kept his reputation intact for being the most free-spirited participant in TCA — perhaps ever — this morning, fresh from a renewal for a second crop of episodes of his idiosyncratic FX late-night talker BrandX With Russell Brand. As with his last appearance at TCA in January, Brand was part entertainer, part spiritual leader, ranting and cross-referencing with abandon in a display of barely controlled civility. Waltzing in wearing jeans torn at both knees, shimmering beads and barefoot — and sporting a black armband — Brand spoke about comedians, homophobia, the consumption of chicken (he finds it a terrible thing to do to a chicken) and, reluctantly, the announced creative changes coming to his show in Season 2 (as teased earlier by FX chief John Landgraf). “The show will look a little more like a conventional late-night show,” he said. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In separate deals, 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin is reuniting with his To Rome With Love helmer Woody Allen, and his Rock Of Ages co-star Russell Brand. I’m told that Baldwin will be part of the cast of Allen’s next ensemble comedy, which he’ll shoot in San Francisco. Cate Blanchett and Bradley Cooper have also been rumored as participants.
Baldwin and Brand are reuniting to star in Man That Rocks The Cradle, a New Line comedy about an overworked husband and father who thinks he has found the solution to all his problems by importing a super-nanny he is told is a true kid whisperer. Turns out the live-in maid is a man. The film will be produced by Arnold and Anne Kopelson.
Man That Rocks The Cradle originated as a spec script by Josh Cagan and based on a story by Cagan and Rob McKittrick. New Line will get a writer to draft it for the actors, and a director.
It gives New Line an opportunity to make another film with Baldwin and Brand, who play club operators and sing duets in the ensemble cast of the Adam Shankman-directed Rock of Ages. Baldwin’s repped by CAA, Brand by WME.
FX is setting up a two-and-a-half-hour comedy block on Thursdays, which will be bookended by Charlie Sheen’s new comedy Anger Management and Russell Brand’s new late-night series titled Strangely Uplifting. The block, which will premiere June 28, also will include Wilfred and Louie, which will have their season debuts that night. Anger Management will launch with two back-to-back episodes at 9 PM and 9:30 PM. Starting the following week, the series, which has an initial order of 10 episodes, will air first-run episodes Thursdays at 9:30 PM with the previous week’s episode repeated at 9 PM. In Anger Management, Sheen stars as Charlie, a non-traditional therapist specializing in anger management. Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Daniela Bobadilla, Michael Arden, and Noureen DeWulf co-star. Bruce Helford serves as Executive Producer/Showrunner.
The second season of Wilfred will air at 10 PM, followed by Season 3 of Louie. At 11 PM, Russell Brand’s six-episode, half-hour late-night comedy series Strangely Uplifting will feature actor-comedian’s unfiltered take on current events, politics and pop culture. The series will be shot in front of a live audience, with the format drawing heavily on Brand’s interaction with that audience. Brand executive produces with, Troy Miller, who will direct, and Nik Linnen. The series, originally scheduled for the spring, was pushed to summer due to a film scheduling conflict for Brand.
The working title of Russell Brand’s upcoming late-night series for FX is Strangely Uplifting, he and the series executive producer Troy Miller revealed during the show’s TCA session today. The British comedian sure lived up to first part of the title with his behavior, jumping from topic to topic in a stream-of-consciousness style. Strangely Uplifting, billed as showcasing Brand’s unfiltered view on things, will shoot in front of live audience 2-3 days before air, with the premiere slated for April. Miller stressed that the show will be very stripped-down, with Brand giving his take on hard and soft news and anything that interests him. “I’d like this show to be news and topical comedy, stripped of all nonsense, stripped of all subterfuge,” Brand said. “These people in the news, they’re filling our minds with shit glitter.” What if Brand himself is in the news? “If I’ve done something actually newsworthy, then I’d cover it,” he said. Read More »
It’s been a busy day for Russell Brand. Fox has picked up an an animated comedy co-created and voiced by the British actor-comedian, the same day cable sibling FX announced that Brand signed a deal for an unscripted late-night series. The network has handed an order for a presentation and a script to the project, produced by 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. Dan Fybel and Rich Rinaldi, writer-producers on Fox’s animated series Bob’s Burgers, are writing. The project’s concept is being kept under wraps, but I hear that it is loosely based on Brand’s life in his 20s. Brand, Fybel and Rinaldi are executive producing with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope as well as Nik Linnen and Beau Bauman of Brand’s Branded Films banner. With the deal, Brand follows in the footsteps of his Get Him To The Greek co-lead Jonah Hill, who co-created and executive produces Fox animated series Allen Gregory, also from 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment. Brand’s animated voice-over experience includes Despicable Me and Hop.
FX had long been talking about getting into late-night, now the cable network is doing it with an unscripted comedy series starring British actor/comedian Russell Brand. The untitled six-episode, half-hour series will premiere in the spring. The concept is still being tweaked but the taped show will feature Brand on stage in front of live audience, making commentary on a variety of topics from current events, politics and pop culture and interacting with audience members. “We’re very excited to add Russell Brand’s bracingly funny, original, and honest voice to the FX comedy line-up,” said FX’s EVP original programming Nick Grad. “We look forward to supporting Russell and his partner Troy Miller’s ambition to strip down the hosted comedy format to its most fundamental elements and to create something daring and unfiltered for the FX audience.” This is one of 2 major TV deals for Brand today, along with a presentation/script order from Fox for an animated comedy.
The FX series is produced by FX Prods. in association with Brand’s Branded Films and Dakota Films. Executive producers are Brand, Troy Miller, and Nik Linnen, with Miller serving as director of the series. “I am so excited I’m on the point of climax, in fact I will put the “O” into FX, which spells FOX, which is actually the channel’s real name,” said Brand. “That’s the only thing … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Adam Shankman will be set by New Line Cinema to direct The Nutcracker, a new take on the classic fairy tale that is being eyed as a tent pole family holiday film for late 2013. The script was written by Darren Lemke, who just worked with New Line on Jack the Giant Killer, and whose credits include Shrek Forever After. This version of The Nutcracker goes back to the original 1815 book by E.T.A. Hoffman, about a young girl and a wooden toy soldier who comes alive and leads her on an adventure. The take is a drama with action and a love story that aspires to be similar in tone to Alice in Wonderland. It is shaping up as Shankman’s next film.
The film is being produced by Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who are coming off Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn–Part 1. It’s likely that Shankman and his Offspring Entertainment partner Jennifer Gibgot will become involved as well by the time the deal is made. Shankman is just coming off Rock of Ages, the New Line adaptation of the stage musical that stars Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston. The film opens June 1. It would be Shankman’s third film with New Line, after Hairspray. Shankman is repped by UTA as is Lemke.
Catherine Zeta-Jones has closed her deal to star in Broken City, joining Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe in the Allen Hughes-directed drama. Zeta-Jones will play the philandering wife of the mayor of New York (Crowe). When a Brooklyn detective (Wahlberg) is hired by the mayor to identify his wife’s lover, and the lover turns up dead, the detective takes it personally and uncovers a wider conspiracy involving his employer. Brian Tucker wrote the script and Randall Emmett, Stephen Levinson, Wahlberg and George Furla will produce. The $50 million film is being fully funded by Emmett/Furla Films and New Regency recently came on as producer, with Fox distributing. Shooting begins November in New York. Zeta-Jones recently completed three big films. She’s coming off the Adam Shankman-directed Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin, starred with Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid in Playing The Field, and starred in the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite with Bruce Willis and Vince Vaughn. She’s repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: New Line has acquired Pregnancy Pact, a comedy pitch that Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly will write for Red Hour Productions. The comedy follows three lifelong best friends who make an ill-conceived pact to get the women in their lives pregnant at the same time. Their goal is to avoid having to make friends with other new parents when their child is born. Instead, it tests their friendship and marriages. It’s considered a strong vehicle for three young actors, and already some are circling, though no one is attached yet. The project will be produced by Red Hour’s Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld. Erica Steinberg, who brought it in, will be exec producer. The writers, who first got on the map when their script The Diversification of Noah Miller made the Black List, are also rewriting a Russell Brand comic vehicle at Paramount, and they have just set up a pair of TV pilots. They are writing First Ones In for Jamie Tarses, Sony and CBS, and Ex-Laws for Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky and ABC Television Studios and ABC. The scribes are repped by WME and Management 360.
Mandate Pictures has set Footloose‘s Julianne Hough and Russell Brand to star in Juno scribe Diablo Cody’s directing debut. The film is untitled and Mason Novick will produce. Cody will be exec producer with Nathan Kahane. Production starts in the spring and Lionsgate is selling international rights at AFM.
Hough plays a sheltered young woman who loses her faith after a plane crash and revels in the decadence of Las Vegas. There, she meets an unlikely companion who helps her find herself. Mandate previously worked with Cody and Novick on Juno and Young Adult, which she scripted and Jason Reitman directed, and which Paramount will release in December.
Deadline broke the news in April that Russell Brand was making a first-look producing deal at Warner Bros, a studio that has stocked the lot with star-based companies featuring the likes of Robert Downey Jr, Ben Affleck/Matt Damon, Zac Efron, Steve Carell and Leonardo DiCaprio. Now that Brand has completed work in the summer 2012 New Line/Warner Bros musical Rock of Ages for director Adam Shankman, he is ready to get busy on the Warner Bros lot. He has named his company Branded Films, and he and his partner Nik Linnen have hired Beau Bauman to run it. Brand wrote a statement for Deadline that reveals the kind of movies he wants to make for the studio. Here goes:
“We at the newly founded Branded Films are very excited to announce our new company and the opportunity for puns that it affords us. Russell Brand and Nik Linnen have coerced Beau Bauman into running our company. Our offices will be on the lot, our sincere hope is that we’ll be in that water tower in which some of the Looney Tunes also live. For this we will expect a reduced rent. If you have any film ideas, send them to: Beau Bauman, the water tower, Warner Bros, Hollywood, America (care of E Fudd). We particularly welcome ideas that could feature a long-haired actor with an unintelligible accent (Rasputin/Tarzan/British Jesus). That’s all folks.”
Former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis originated the lead role of Drew Boley in Rock of Ages‘ off-Broadway and Broadway musical incarnations. He’s not playing that role in the movie version that Adam Shankman is directing for New Line (Diego Boneta got the screen role), but that doesn’t mean Maroulis has been left out completely. He just filmed the small role as a prototypical ’80s record executive. Here’s a shot of him with Shankman and one of the film’s producers, Matt Weaver. The film stars Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand and Julianne Hough.
Is Alec Baldwin in or out of New Line’s Rock of Ages? We might have a better idea today after Baldwin takes part in a full run-through of the ’80s-flavored rock musical being held in an hour or so on the Miami set where the picture will be shot. Except for Catherine Zeta-Jones (who’s shooting the Gerard Butler starrer Playing The Field that FilmDistrict acquired this morning), Baldwin will take part with the entire cast of Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough. They’ll be trying out costumes and belting out 80s tunes as they prepare for a May 23 production start. Director Adam Shankman will be hoping that by the end of today, Baldwin will have a change of heart, which was prompted by personal reasons.
EXCLUSIVE: While Arthur was a box office flop, Russell Brand has been staked to a first-look producing deal by Warner Bros. That studio has cut back as hard in recent years as any with its number of producer overhead deals, and slashed the ones that remain. But Brand becomes the latest case where the studio gives pacts to actors it primarily wants populating Warner Bros films. Warner Bros got aggressive on that front last year when it added deals with Robert Downey Jr., Ben Affleck/Matt Damon and Zac Efron, to go along with pacts previously given to Steve Carell, Leonardo DiCaprio and a few others. It has become reminiscent of those days when the studio had a star stable with the likes of Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood (who, amazingly, is still there).
Brand will have a modest deal, but Warner Bros apparently hasn’t lost faith in him despite the disappointing returns on Arthur. The studio is bullish on two other comic vehicles that were acquired as star vehicles for Brand while the studio was making Arthur. One is an untitled laffer being scripted by William and Scott Bindley that would cast Brand as a David Beckham-like soccer player/playboy who gets arrested in Texas and draws the community-service gig of coaching the awful local high school team. The other is a remake of the British comedy show Rentaghost, in which Brand would play a spirit who starts a temp agency for the dead. One thing the studio has learned is that an entirely likable version of Brand isn’t necessarily the one audiences respond to. In the original Arthur, Dudley Moore was drunk the whole movie and picked up hookers. Brand played that kind of rascal in Get Him To The Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but his Arthur was sanitized by comparison. Better off turning him loose next time and perhaps pairing him with another star. Read More »
Adam Shankman has tweeted that he got Russell Brand to play Lonny in the New Line musical Rock of Ages. But Shankman’s pursuit of Amy Adams didn’t work out. He wanted her to play the role of the journalist who duets and then beds down with Tom Cruise’s decadent rock star character Stacee Jaxx, but Adams’ schedule was complicated by landing the Lois Lane role in the Superman film Man of Steel. Shankman’s still looking.
Brand’s casting was first disclosed by Deadline on Jan. 20. He’ll play Lonny, who runs the ’80s rock club The Bourbon for owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin). Brand and Baldwin get to sing a rousing version of the REO Speedwagon tune Can’t Fight This Feeling. Brand previously worked with Shankman in Bedtime Stories. Rock of Ages stars Diego Gonzalez Boneta, Julianne Hough, Cruise, Baldwin, Mary J. Blige and Paul Giamatti. Pretty good cast for an ’80s homage that started off-Broadway and then caught on when it moved to Broadway. Brand just opened in Hop and Arthur.
EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin has committed to star in Woody Allen’s next film. And where will the quintessential New York actor and Gotham’s arguably most famous director be filming? Try Rome. Allen has chosen that city as the site of his next comedy as he continues sampling countries around the globe after shooting most of his films exclusively in New York. Allen has said that shooting in NYC is just too expensive, but I’d argue that the change of scenery has creatively revived him in recent outings.
Baldwin will work with Allen for the first time since the 1990 comedy Alice. Allen has just begun putting this film together, and word is that The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg is also in line for a lead. Penelope Cruz was previously announced. Baldwin will first star in Rock Of Ages, the Adam Shankman-directed New Line musical that also stars Diego Gonzalez Boneta, Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige and Russell Brand. Amy Adams is being courted to play a journalist who falls into a bedroom romp with the rock star Stacee Jaxx (Cruise). After he finishes the two projects, Baldwin returns for what could be his final season of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. Could Jack Donaghy really be leaving after Baldwin’s contract ends and the show is still so good? Baldwin told me as much when we did the Playboy Interview awhile back. I argued that his sitcom momentum would … Read More »