Early on during the production of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Nick Stoller decided he wanted to make another movie starring his then-relatively unknown supporting cast.
“During the first table read, actually, I thought Jonah (Hill) and Russell (Brand) had amazing chemistry,” said the sophomore director.
“I thought of this idea, pitched it and they both thought it was fun. They hadn’t done this kind of thing before.”
Well, that’s not exactly true. After all, Brand played an obnoxious rock star named Aldous Snow in that 2008 comedy. Not coincidentally, he revives none other than Mr. Snow in Get Him to the Greek.
“It didn’t make sense for Russell to be playing a new rock star since he just played a rock star in a movie that I directed, so we thought we should spin it off,” admitted Stoller.
But Brand’s familiarity with the role didn’t end there. A tale about a partying musician who is barely escorted from London to Hollywood alongside a meek executive (Hill), Snow walks a perilous, self-destructive path — not unlike the one Katy Perry’s fiancé once travelled himself as a heroin-addicted comedian.
“I would sit down with him when I was writing the movie and basically interview him and ask him about addiction,” said Stoller.
“I’d ask him what would cause him to fall off the wagon, what would he act like when he was an addict, how would he treat his assistant if he wanted something.”
If the comedy is any indication, his assistant was treated rather callously. But don’t mistake the negligence of Aldous Snow for the Russell Brand of today.
“Personality-wise, he’s very different,” said Stoller. “(He’s) a very polite, charming guy who’s very effusive and talks a mile a minute and wants everyone to be comfortable … but there’s certainly an emotional truth from his past that we kind of brought into the movie.”
As for Stoller, he’s now tonally rehabilitating himself as he moves from R-rated road flick to penning the new Muppet Movie with pal Jason Segel.
“We had a table read on Saturday with all the muppets. They literally had the puppeteers with the muppets,” laughed Stoller, who’s clearly still riding the high.
“When I opened my computer program and wrote ‘Kermit’ as a character I was like, ‘I can’t believe I get to do this.’”