First Look: Russell Brand as ARTHUR

Clean shaven, vulnerable. Is Brand just having a bad day on the set, or is this melancholy how he will play the wealthy playboy?

We've barely had anything good to say about the Russell Brand starring remake of Dudley Moore's classic rom-com Arthur but maybe (and I'm saying... just... maybe) - I'm slightly warming to the idea after I enjoyed Get Him To The Greek more than I expected. I'll admit it - Brand keeps surprising me with just how watchable he is on screen and as long as he keeps making my belly laugh and my eyes water, I'll continue to follow him despite his limitations as a leading man. It's the funny comedian/actor syndrome - as long as he makes me laugh and doesn't attempt to Oscar bait, then he's cool by me. Splash News have snapped a first look at Brand during filming on Arthur in New York. Without a beard and in that kind of get-up, he looks more like he is turning up for A Clockwork Orange fancy dress party than leading a major Warner Bros. comedy. It also ages him by about five years and the usually cocky, full of self-confidence Brand - looks dare I say it, vulnerable in these images, without the beard? It's a little fascinating how different Brand looks, how much more sad. Now I'm really getting interested in this... Seriously, has Brand ever looked more vulnerable? Brand plays the wealthy and merry playboy who will inherit a fortune if he marries an heiress (Jennifer Garner, amazingly) his family is keen to see him tie the not with, but he actually falls for a blue-collar thief (Greta Gerwig). Oscar winner Helen Mirren (who with this and her automatic gun wielding assassin in Red - has ditched stuffy drama's to let her hair down and just have a good time on screen) will play a veteran nanny, replacing John Gielgud€™s valet from the original. Gielgud won an Oscar for Best Supporting role in the Moore original, so maybe there is something for Mirren to work with here. Nick Nolte is also on board (as Gerwig's father), as is Luis Guzman by evidence of another set image; Jason Winer, a regular director on the show Modern Family helms from a Peter Baynham (Borat, Bruno) script, that we reviewed back in February. Arthur opens sometime next year.

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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.