Don't let Russell Brand fool you. Sure, he's had his share of run ins with the law and the paparazzi, but he's no dummy. I had the chance to see Brand work some of his magic this past weekend when he received an award at Variety's Power of Comedy event. The night was a benefit for the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a cancer awareness charity. Brand had the odd duty of trying to tie his Power of Comedy Award into the fundraising aspect of the event. To be quite honest, it was no easy task, but like an expert politician Brand walked a fine line of touching on both his own career and the need to test yourself (or have your loved ones) tested for cancer. Two days later I'm sitting in front of the honoree to discuss his role as
Trinculo in Julie Taymor's adaptation of "The Tempest."
As I spoke with Brand, who had been very "on" with the previous interviewers, I took him a back I think by calling out the intelligence most seem to ignore in his work. In "The Tempest," Brand more than holds his own with veteran stage actors such as Alfred Molina and Helen Mirren and if you didn't know his previous work, you might have guessed he was any other British stage actor making a jump to the big screen. The movie may have its faults, but Brand's performance isn't one of them.
To find out more, check out the interview embedded in this post. Look for my chat with the always wonderful and utterly fabulous Dame Helen Mirren later on this week.
"The Tempest" opens in limited release on Friday.