“It’s funny, I’ll tell you a little story. Jason Segel wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall for he and I to do together, and he wrote that [Russell Brand] role [Aldous Snow] for me. I went and I did the table read and it was very successful. Judd [Apatow] was producing,” Charlie told Collider.
He continued, “I was in a dark night of the soul in my career, at that point, and felt as though I needed to seize the trajectory and that just wasn’t really aligning with, at that period of my life and career, what I wanted to be doing. Jason was one of my best friends, which is why he wrote the film for me, but I had to tell him, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m not gonna do this.’ It was one of those things where that wasn’t very well received by the inner circle of that production. I had to stand my ground and say, ‘Listen, it’s nothing personal. I’m just following my North star. I’m just in a weird spot and I’m trying to define for myself what the path forward is.’”
Charlie added, “It was one of those things where it was really difficult for me for the few months after that or a year after that, and then I saw this piece of stand-up. I didn’t know who Russell Brand was, but I saw this piece of stand-up that Russell Brand did on Christmas day with my mom. It was just this liberating moment where I said, ‘Obviously, that’s the dude who should have been playing that role. Clearly, I just needed to step out of the way of the universe manifesting itself, the way that it was supposed to.’ My relationship with Jason gave birth to that character, but there’s no way I could have done it justice the way Russell Brand did. I think there’s a rhythm to these things and you just have to really follow your instincts. It’s all you can really ever do. I suppose I brought that up because it’s a nice example of my instincts being proven to me that it was correct, I think. By the way, I’ve never told anyone that story before. I don’t know if that makes it attractive or not — but it’s a world exclusive.”
This is not the first time this has happened, either. Charlie actually exited another major movie after being cast in the leading role.