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The Filmmakers Behind Brian And Charles

June 10th, 2022The Filmmakers Behind Brian And Charles

Get Tickets BRIAN AND CHARLES opens in theatres June 17th.

Summer is the one time of year when audiences are guaranteed blockbusters with hair-raising thrills, high-octane action and star-studded casts all season long. However, every once in a while, it is a good idea to seek out a film that is a bit smaller, a bit lighter and, especially, a bit more unique as it hits the big screen. Any audience looking for something along those lines will surely find it when BRIAN AND CHARLES hits theatres.

This critically acclaimed documentary-style comedy from director Jim Archer stars British comedian David Earl and Chris Hayward, who also co-wrote the film. For many U.S. audiences who are interested in seeing the movie from Focus Features when it opens on Friday, June 17, it could very likely be their first time seeing anything from the British trio of filmmakers behind it. Well, in case this describes you, allow us to help you become familiar with the creators of BRIAN AND CHARLES and how the film came to be in the first place.

The Story Behind Brian And Charles

BRIAN AND CHARLES — which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2022 — is the story of a man named Brian Gittins, played by David Earl, who passes the time by inventing unusual and sometimes pointless contraptions. That is, until he creates a sentient robotic entity that he names Charles, who is portrayed under a very bizarre costume by Chris Hayward. The unlikely duo immediately strike up an enduring friendship that is captured on film by a documentary crew. The movie is a feature-length adaptation of a short film of the same name that first premiered at the South By Southwest Festival in 2017. However, its origins can really be traced back much further than that.

David Earl invented the character of Brian Gittins years earlier and began portraying him on stage in the U.K. and, later, in increasingly popular online vlogs and comedy sketches. The irreverent and socially awkward character made his cinematic debut in 2010 with the darkly comical period drama CEMETERY JUNCTION — which was co-written, co-directed and starring Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Earl later became the star of his own sitcom pilot on the U.K.’s Channel 4 called “Gittins,” appeared as Brian on Gervais’ Netflix series “After Life” and hosts a few podcasts as the character as well.

Brian may be depicted as the creator of his friend, Charles, in BRIAN AND CHARLES, but, like Brian, the square-bodied, homemade robot is also a pre-existing character. According to Slug Mag, the character was dreamed up by the film’s producer, Rupert Majendie, who used a text-to-talk software to call in to Earl's internet radio show as Charles.

Charles really came to life when Chris Hayward began physically portraying him live in costume alongside Earl as Brian and later became the star of his own online comedy bits as well. Eventually, the duo collaborated on the aforementioned short that became successful enough to inspire interest in expanding it to a feature-length film and the rest is history.

Jim Archer Directs

Making his feature-length directorial debut with BRIAN AND CHARLES is Jim Archer, who also helmed the short film that the new mockumentary is based upon. The U.K.-based filmmaker’s first short was the romantic-comedy INTERVENTION in 2014, which he followed with 2015’s four-minute mockumentary PHIL: A TRIBUTE TO A MAN and a slightly shorter and far more surreal mockumentary called MY SISTER’S DOLLHOUSE the following year.

Following the success of the original BRIAN AND CHARLES short in 2017, Archer directed three short comedies in 2018 called SPOKKE, GOD’S OWN COUNTRY and DOWN FROM LONDON and, in 2019, began directing for television with episodes of the coming-of-age dramedy “The Young Offenders” and “Down from London”— a limited series adaptation of the aforementioned short. In 2022, he helmed all six episodes of the premiere season of British queer dramedy BIG BOYS.

Co-Writer And Star David Earl

Comedian David Earl has been one of the U.K.’s famous names in cringe comedy for years since making his acting debut on the HBO original series “Extras” opposite Ricky Gervais, who would also cast him in a starring role on his Netflix original “Derek.” He is also a writer and star on series like “Rovers” and “The Cockfields.”

As previously mentioned, Earl’s performance as Brian Gittins in BRIAN AND CHARLES is not his first as the cult favorite character in a film, but it is the first time he is leading a cinematic release as the character. He also penned the screenplay for the comedy with Chris Hayward.

Co-Writer And Star Chris Hayward

Chris Hayward has been an active and noteworthy member of the British comedy scene for about as long as his BRIAN AND CHARLES co-star, David Earl. He got his start in the early 2000s as a writer on sketch comedy series “Smack the Pony” and “Big Train” before making guest appearance on hit sitcoms like “The IT Crowd” or starring in short films he penned such as THE PHOTOCOPIER or SOS: SAVE OUR SKINS.

Hayward also co-wrote and co-directed the British comedy series “Misery Bear” and has also written for other TV shows like the grocery store-set sitcom “Trollied” and another sketch series called “Cardinal Burns.” Another short film from 2019 that he penned and appears in is called HAMSBURY BOOK CLUB.

As you can see from the trailer below, this critically acclaimed Sundance Festival comedy appears to be a quirky, funny and heartwarming movie that will likely satisfy moviegoers’ cravings for something truly unique and ambitious.

BRIAN AND CHARLES may be destined to be the indie sleeper hit of the summer of 2022 and we shall see for sure once it hits the big screen.

Get Tickets BRIAN AND CHARLES opens in theatres June 17th.

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