Russell Brand on Four Kids and It: 'The wishes are a vessel to education rather than a vessel to power'
- James Mottram
- 31 March 2020
Andy De Emmony and Brand, who plays the antagonist in the British director's family adventure, discuss the film's charm, young co-stars and wish-granting creature Psammead
On the grounds of a beautiful cottage in rural Ireland, kids are running amok and Russell Brand is meditating in the garden. 'I pray and meditate every day,' the bearded comedian explains when he enters a small annex overlooking a spectacular lake after his latest spiritual session. 'But when I'm at work, what I need is to be continually engaged.'
At least here he's got a new movie to consider: Four Kids and It, a fresh and funny family adventure that's making its bow on Sky Cinema. Based on Jacqueline Wilson's 2012 book Four Children and It, it's the story of a recently-together couple, David (Mathew Goode) and Alice (Paula Patton), who surprise their respective kids with a holiday in Cornwall.
Cue plenty of moaning and groaning from the adolescents, until they accidentally encounter a wish-granting, sand-dwelling creature named the Psammead (voiced by Sir Michael Caine). It's this magical beast that Brand's eccentric neighbour Tristan is trying to capture. 'As is always the case with wish-granting stories, the wishes are a vessel to education rather than a vessel to power,' notes Brand, sagely.
Calling the shots is British director Andy De Emmony, who has come full circle somewhat – he started his career working on satiric TV show Spitting Image, working with puppets, before going on to direct shows like Father Ted and Cutting It. 'My background is all in comedy, so I like emotional drama that has got a bit of release in comedy. That stops it getting too earnest.'