What comes to mind when you think of Russell Brand? ‘Intelligent actor?’ ‘Loud-mouthed comedian?’ ‘Mr Katy Perry?’ ‘Former heroin addict?’
We’ll hedge a bet that the latter opinion is the least common.
Whilst Russell has always been open and honest about his history of substance abuse (11 years total, but more of that later) he’s done a pretty decent job proving to the world that he can take on Hollywood and stardom, no problem.
But a documentary about the Get Him To The Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall actor glosses over his celebrity credentials and challenges him to talk more frankly than ever about his murky past.
In Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery (tonight, 9pm, BBC Three), he opens up about just how far his addiction went, revisiting the rehabilitation clinic that he claims ‘saved his life,’ talking to his agent, who made Russell go to rehab after finding him taking heroin at an office Christmas party and even filming his own mother who breaks down in tears when remembering her son at his lowest point.
Russell also speaks to current drug users who, remarkably, all agreed to be filmed talking candidly about their addictions. And he confronts doctors about their controversial methods of weaning addicts off heroin.
It’s riveting viewing, but uncomfortable in places. Seeing a home video of a rather beautiful 25 year-old Russell smoking heroin is harrowing (the desired audience effect, no doubt). And inside a bare flat where he interviews two female junkies, they hand him a bag of heroin and you can see his twinge of excitement. He admits how tempting it would be too fall back into a life of hard drugs.
Love or hate Russell Brand, you sort of have to commend his honesty here. We for one praise him for using his celebrity status to raise awareness about drug addiction. Do you agree? Let Grazia know your comments.