By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com August 2, 2011 at 8:28AM
'Rock Of Ages' Co-Star Julianne Hough A Contender For Lead
The screen career of Russell Brand has been an interesting thing to follow so far. The stand-up comedian broke out as a highlight of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," and spun off the same character to a lesser, but still fair degree of success in "Get Him To The Greek" (and showed some impressive dramatic chops in places), but the last year has displayed some mixed success: "Hop" was a huge hit, although Brand never appeared on screen, while "The Tempest" and, more importantly, "Arthur," were both awful, and both flops.
Unbowed, he's keen to show he's no one-trick-pony, with a big role alongside Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin in next year's musical "Rock of Ages," and now he's said to be circling a film that marks the directorial debut of an Oscar-winner, one that will give him an opportunity to spread his wings and attempt to show some range -- Twitch report that Brand has now been offered a role in "Lamb of God," the new film from "Juno" writer Diablo Cody.
The plot involves a young Christian girl, the titular Lamb, who survives a plane crash, but is left with horrific burns. With her faith gone, she travels to Las Vegas in order to experience the more sinful side of life, and befriends Loray, an African-American craps dealer, and William, a bartender -- the latter being the part that Brand's been offered. As for the part of Lamb, we'd assumed it had been written for Ellen Page, but apparently Brand's rock-of-ages co-star Julianne Hough, who's also the lead in the new "Footloose," is leading the pack, which makes sense, as she embodies a certain kind of Midwestern innocence.
Cody attracts a disproportionate amount of hate, mainly from assholes and misogynists, but her work goes way beyond "Juno" -- "Young Adult," which will reunite her with director Jason Reitman, is a darker, more mature work than anything she's done before, and "Lamb of God" is another good 'un; a little slight, perhaps, but well-drawn and even-handed in its depiction of faith. Should Brand sign on, it'll be his biggest challenge to date, and we're interested to see how it'll turn out. Mandate Pictures are backing the film, and while there's no firm word on when filming will get underway, it's on the fast track, and with Cody calling it on her blog "a nice Christmas story," we'd expect to see it in theaters in December 2012.