When one thinks of Russell Brand they likely think of someone very comfortable being in front of the camera, not a person so insecure about appearing on film that he'd try to block his documentary from seeing the light of day. But that's what sources are saying he attempted to do with a documentary of which he was the subject... a complicated film on the controversial comedian that reportedly took over seven years to make.
Director Ondi Timoner recently fielded questions about her documentary, Brand: A Second Coming during Q&A segment following the film's SXSW premiere Friday night. Among the many topics discussed was the absence of Brand, the film's subject and the man scheduled to make the keynote speech at this year's festival. Also up for discussion was his apparent attempts to block the film's release at the festival, which according to Variety, weren't successful due to the devotion of Timoner as well as SXSW's Janet Pierson... the latter who assured the director the fest would still show the film, in the spirit of free speech, regardless of the Rock of Ages star's attendance.
The documentary began shooting seven years ago after Brand was approached by Suzie Gilbert, who wanted to co-direct the film with Albert Maysles. Over time, Maysles passed away and the doc went through a series of other directors and producers (many of which Brand says were close friends and Oscar-winners), yet in the end the project has come to be defined, by the controversial comedian himself, as pure "chaos."
Brand blames the resulting footage not only on his own "loopy truculence," but also on the fact that when Timoner came onboard to save the film (after five other directors), he gave up full creative control and as a result has since became very uncomfortable with the content of the documentary. The details, however, on just how far the Trews star went in his attempts to bury the film aren't known. One thing is crystal clear, though... Brand doesn't seem to be upset with the film's director, Timoner. He has since referred to her as a "highly respected filmmaker" and the director of "one of my favorite docs, Dig!." He elaborated further on the situation in his official SXSW statement:
Ondi is a very beautiful person and a director of peerless integrity, I suppose what I didn’t consider was that in letting go of the film, I was agreeing to be the subject of a biography. Posthumously this is a great honor but while you’re alive, oddly intrusive and melancholy.
Brand: A Second Coming attempts to tell the story of the British fame-seeker and Paradise star, Russell Brand, who's since turned political activist over the years. The intimate telling of Brand's life delves into his past struggles with sex and drug addiction as well as his failed marriage to pop star Katy Perry.