Stop, stop, stop, stop, STOP!
By Lars Trodson
I just saw this photo with Helen Mirren giving Russell Brand a bath. They are apparently on the set of their new "film", "Arthur", in which Brand is playing the sweet-natured and lost little rich boy, Arthur. "Arthur", as almost everybody knows, was a character created by writer Steve Gordon and brought to life by Dudley Moore. Moore won a much-deserved Oscar nomination for his portrayal in that 1981 film. When he told his girlfriend, played by Jill Eikenberry, that some people drink because they aren't poets, most of the world knew what he meant. You didn't forget Arthur.
So now there is the photo of Brand getting a bath by Mirren, and Brand is quoted as saying, "Never has getting clean been so dirty." Oh, my goodness. That is one funny line. Yessir!
I guess I'm sentimental. But as far as the movies are concerned, no one owns anything any more. Inspector Clouseau was once owned by Peter Sellers. He helped create him. Now we have these Steve Martin DVDs floating about. John Shaft was replayed by Samuel L. Jackson - not that anybody cared, but there you go. And Arthur was created by Gordon and Moore. Jeff Bridges, as much as I love the guy, can't be Rooster Cogburn. Can't we at least let John Wayne have his own Oscar-winning role? The list of these aberrations goes on and on and on.
Since I am sentimental and a writer, I guess I would say that Arthur Bach is supposed to be this slightly goofy, off-kilter, but very, very sweet young man. That's who the character is and it was how it was written. It should not be some lecherous, hyper-sexualized character who makes pee-pee jokes with Helen Mirren (you know that's exactly what will happen). If that happens, then it is no longer the character Arthur.
At that point, just change some details of the story, give the guy another name, and no one will be the worse for wear. But Hollywood keeps plying the depths of its own past to the point of ruination.
It's actually getting to the point that Hollywood has no past. It lives in a constant state of remake-present. Philip K. Dick couldn't have come up with a more bizarro scenario, but we're in it, and we have to get out.