Drop Dead Fred was one of my favorite films growing up, mostly because of the wonderfully unhinged performance given by Rik Mayall so when news of a remake came out I was really intrigued. Now it has come out that taking the Mayall's place as the titular imaginary friend will be none other than Russell Brand (of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and granddaughter sex scandal fame).
“Drop Dead Fred” was a very dark comedy released in 1991, starring Phoebe Cates and British comedian Rik Mayall. It centered on a rather damaged young woman named Lizzie (played by Cates) who allows herself to be walked on and dominated by everyone. After a day from hell when she loses everything — including her job and husband, and is forced to move back home with her abusive mother — she’s reunited with her childhood imaginary friend, Fred.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal is resurrecting the film just for Brand. He’ll play the naughty Fred, and the storyline will be given an overhaul by Dennis McNicholas (”Land of the Lost”) to be a “Beetlejuice”-like world of imaginary friends. There will undoubtedly be some “Fred” fans upset by the news of a Brand makeover, but I think most of us will simply wonder why even the bombs of the ’80s and ’90s are being dug up and brushed off for moviegoers.
OK, here are my thoughts. I have no problem with the idea of a remake, in fact it sounds like they are changing the plot so much that it will be more like a pseudo-sequel that a straight remake. However, I do have a problem with the fact that Fred will invariably become some kind of Victorian-era dandy if played by Russell Brand. The problem with Brand is that he is so ubiquitous here in the UK that we were sick of his mock-pompous verbose vulgarity years ago, unfortunately Hollywood thinks he's the greatest thing since sliced bread and want to cast him in everything (though I admit he did steal the show in Sarah Marshall). We'll see how his acting career takes off, but I think people are going to get mighty sick of him if he doesn't start showing some range pretty soon.