Russell Brand Bails Last-Minute On SXSW Premiere Of Documentary About Him Because Movie Is “Painful And Sad”
Russell Brand was slated to attend the world premiere of a documentary about him called, BRAND: The Second Coming, on the opening night of the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas on Friday, but the comedian and actor has bailed at the last-minute, citing that watching a movie about himself would be “very uncomfortable.”
Cameras followed Brand for years as he overcame both drug and sex addictions, become more famous, and even married and divorced Katy Perry. The filmmakers had tremendous access to Brand, and a lot of the footage is raw and unrelenting. And while he’s not unhappy about the documentary, he’s now feeling that seeing it with an audience and reliving his struggles would be “painful and sad.”
Hours before the screening was set to take place, Brand posted a long message on Twitter explaining the filmmaking process and why he was suddenly going to be a no-show. He wrote, “Some time ago when I was a newly recovering junkie sinking my teeth into succulent transatlantic fame we were contacted by a respected filmmaker who asked if I’d like to make a documentary about happiness and I leapt, ego first into a caper that would take 7 years and as many directors to complete.”
He added, “Due primarily to my loopy truculence the process quickly got a bit muddled and we parted ways and I stumbled on with the project enlisting a series of different directors and producers, some of whom were dear friends, others were Oscar winners (all were good people) to do the real graft. It was chaos; we ended up in US Marine training camps, Louisiana penitentiaries, Occupy protests and backstage at MTV award shows with the world’s biggest stars.”
“Over the sprawling time period in which we’d been in production I’d transitioned from an attention-seeking missile, exploding into exhibitionism at every turn, into a man who, whilst still a show-off, was becoming disillusioned and disconnected from fame, celebrity and all it’s sticky ephemera,” he explained.
Brand noted he was “relieved” when director Ondi Timoner took over the reigns of making the documentary about his “transition from a relatively conventional celebrity to whatever the hell it is I am now.” He even called her “a very beautiful person and a director of peerless integrity.” But while he said the film would be a “great honor” posthumously, he felt “while you’re alive, [the documentary’s] oddly intrusive and melancholy.”
“You’d think a narcissist would like nothing more than talking about themselves and their ‘rags to riches,’ ‘hard luck’ story but actually, it felt like, to me, my life was hard enough the first time round and going through it again was painful and sad,” concluded Brand. He then apologized to the filmmakers and SXSW Film Festival organizers for canceling hours before the world premiere. What do you think of Brand’s statements?