Russell Brand declined to attend the premiere of his own biographical film Friday night at Austin’s SXSW film festival, which is related to the film’s coverage of his brief marriage to Katy Perry, as well as other personal battles the star would rather forget.
According to the film, titled Brand: A Second Coming, which debuted without its liberal and flamboyant subject, it was Katy Perry’s rise to superstardom, not a scheduling conflict, which doomed her marriage to Brand. He reportedly opted to miss the show because it opens up such old wounds.
Seven years in the making, Brand demonstrates the star’s search for religion, social equality, his troubled childhood, and his crossover fame from the U.K. to America.
The film’s director, Ondi Timoner, spoke to USA TODAY about Brand’s absence Friday, saying, “This is a painful experience for him to have this film come out… Probably, it’s a little bit terrifying because it’s so personal and so raw. But at the end of the day, I know people are going to love him for this.”
Brand also released a statement on his personal website to describe his thoughts on missing the show, but made no mention of the documentary’s specific subject matter:
You’d think a narcissist would like nothing more than talking about themselves and their “rags to riches”, “hard luck” story but actually, it felt like, to me, my life was hard enough the first time round and going through it again was painful and sad.
I apologise sincerely to the organisers of sxsw for my non-attendance, especially Janet Pierson, Brian Solis and Rynda Laurel from the interactive festival who were responsible for the keynote talk that I was due to do.
According to USA TODAY, The film oftentimes depicts Brand in an unflattering light and demonstrates his self-comparisons to Jesus, as well as his habit of using his fame to sleep with women.
One scene even shows a young Brand smoking drugs from an aluminum square with a friend.
The film’s IMDB page describes A Second Coming as a feature documentary that follows Brand’s spiritual and biographical travels far and wide to meet with a wide and fascinating range of people.
Russell Brand is a troubled visionary who embraced the superficial and doped up times in which we live, only to find it was an empty proposition. He started a search for meaning, which lead him to dig out his heroes: Gandhi, Malcolm X, Jesus and Ché Guevara – to look at why they did what they did, how they did what they did, and in what ways he might be a little bit like them.
He starts writing about them: They are all willing to die for what they believe in, all immortal and timeless due to their singular and unwavering dedication to their causes. This becomes the Messiah Complex show, where Brand skillfully balances philosophy, history and humour, and he embarks on his first-ever world tour.
The film also features Katy Perry, Mike Tyson, Oliver Stone, and David Lynch, among others.