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Greek out

Director Nicholas Stoller talks up one wild rock 'n' roll road trip

Brand loyalty: The Brit rocker's back in Greek.
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Published 6/2/2010

When we last saw British rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) in 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he was a recovering addict dating TV actress Sarah Marshall and incessantly irritating her ex-boyfriend Peter Bretter (Jason Segel). It's a few years later, and in the beginning of Get Him to the Greek, he's fallen off the wagon and hasn't had a hit song in quite some time. To make things worse, his relationship with pop star Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) has ended, and she's taken up with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.

Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), a young record-company flunky, has an idea: A career-resuscitating Aldous Snow comeback concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The only catch: Aaron's boss (Sean Combs) wants him to fly to London to retrieve Aldous and bring him to the States. But that isn't as easy as it sounds, since booze, drugs, and women easily distract the self-involved rock star.

In addition to Brand, several Sarah Marshall alum are back for Get Him to the Greek, including writer-director Nicholas Stoller, Segel (who pens several new songs), and Hill, who had a minor role in the first movie as another character.

"The movie came out of the fact that [Brand and Hill] had such good chemistry during the filming of Sarah Marshall," Stoller says. "During the shoot, I pitched it to them, and they liked it.

"The original idea wasn't that it'd be a spin-off, but that it would be this rock 'n' roll road-trip comedy. When I was writing the script, I realized it would be weird if Russell played a different rock star."

Aaron's first encounter with Aldous in London turns into an all-night party, and the two barely make it on the plane. When they land in New York and race off to a Today Show appearance, it turns into a disaster when Aldous tells Aaron he's forgotten the words to the song he's about to perform.

The movie sputters a bit midway, when the pair makes a stop in Las Vegas and Aldous meets up with his half-crazed father (Colm Meaney). The Hangover-like antics with strippers ensue. But once Aaron and Aldous finally arrive in L.A., the film gets back on track — especially when they have a heart-to-heart that reveals their insecurities and shortcomings.

"To me, the most important thing in any movie is that it has a real heart and a true emotional underpinning," Stoller says. "The whole movie is heading toward Aldous being made completely vulnerable and stripping away all his pretenses of coolness. That's very intentional, and Russell is such a good actor, he's able to bring that to the film."

Given the bad-boy comic's history of addiction and troublemaking, we're guessing Aldous isn't much of a stretch for Brand. Still, he and Hill — who improvise quite a bit throughout Get Him to the Greek — play off each other quite well.

Get Him to the Greek opens Friday, June 4.

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