Helen Mirren joins Russell Brand in 'Arthur'

12:28 PM PST 04/22/2010 by Borys Kit, AP

Remake of 1981 comedy is set up at Warner Bros.

Two extremes of British classes are about to collide head-on.

Helen Mirren, the grande dame of acting, is in negotiations to star opposite the one-time stand-up duke of debauchery Russell Brand in "Arthur," Warner Bros.' remake of the 1981 comedy. Mirren will play the title character's longtime nanny in a reconstruction of the role that earned John Gielgud a supporting actor Oscar for the original.

Larry Brezner is producing with Kevin McCormick and Chris Bender. Jason Winer is directing.

The original movie starred Dudley Moore as Arthur, a boozy playboy who is set to inherit a fortune if he marries an heiress his family thinks will make something out of him. But he falls in love with a working-class woman and turns to his valet (Gielgud) for help when his family makes him choose between money and love.

The movie is eyeing a July start in New York.

Peter Baynham has written the screenplay for the remake, which is being overseen by Sarah Schechter for the studio.

Scott Kroopf, J.C. Spink, Brand and Nik Linnen are exec producing.

Mirren, repped by CAA, has five films in the can, including "Love Ranch," directed by husband Taylor Hackford and being released by E1 in June, and "Red," a comic book action movie also starring Bruce Willis, due in October. She also has wrapped "The Debt" and "The Tempest"; both are from Miramax, whose releases are up in air because of the potential sale of the Disney division.
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