David Earl and Chris Hayward talk Brian and Charles

by W. Andrew Powell
David Earl and Chris Hayward

Brian and Charles is a classic buddy film. The only difference from the average buddy comedy is that in this one, the best friend is a robot.

David Earl and Chris Hayward star in this funny, sweet, and disarming tale of a lonely man, who thinks of himself as an inventor. The only catch is that his inventions are as odd as it gets, like the flying grandfather clock that never gets off the ground.

Charles is the exception though. Brian somehow gets everything right and invents a robot with a washing machine for a chest, and they become best friends almost instantly. What follows is a story about growing up, family, and fatherhood, in a funny way, and it’s wonderful from start to finish.

“We set out just to make something really funny, and really just to get Charles–who’s here by the way–we just had to get him on the screen,” Hayward said.

The story evolved from a comedy show that the two comedians performed on stage.

“We were performing to slightly drunk comedy audiences,” Hayward said, “so the show itself was a slightly more adult in nature. Charles was much more boisterous, and I think Brian probably was as well. We’ve made it much more family friendly compared to their comedy club origins.”

“And we talked a lot about friendships and relationships in general and how they can be really fun and then change and I guess there’s an element of luck to it as well in terms of how it came out.”

For Earl, acting opposite Charles came naturally.

“I must admit, I find it really, really easy in that firstly, it’s funny, so I’m just trying not to laugh, but I just believe that he’s this living thing. And I actually find it harder acting with human beings… but honestly, it was so much fun.”

“When we were improvising,” Earl added, “I’d ask Charles a question and Rupert [Majendie, the producer] would be in the other room, tapping away. And it’s so exciting, the anticipation of what’s going to come out–so much so that I’m replying to Charles with a grin because I’m just enjoying the whole ridiculous nature of it all. So, yeah, I love doing it.”

It did take some convincing though for Earl to step in front of the cameras for this feature film.

“I nearly pulled out of the movie with two months to go,” Earl said, “but then I have to tell you, I was like, ‘Can we find someone else to do this?’ So the idea of a movie hanging on my shoulders, ‘Oh, God, does anyone want to see me in every scene?’ It just felt like a real weight.”

“I remember being relieved when you did turn up,” Hayward said. “I was like, ‘Okay, he is going to do it.'”

“It was lovely doing it with Chris and Rupert and Jim [Archer, the director]. Jim is just so relaxed, and Jim could just put me at ease. I guess as soon as you get the first laugh on set, you can relax and you go, ‘Okay…'”

Brian and Charles is a wonderful, surprising film, with heart and characters that jump off the screen. The film opens in theatres on Friday, June 17. Watch the full interview below.

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