It’s probably not hard to believe that funnyman Russell Brand is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, but he tells this month’s Elle Mag he’s  a new man. But for some fans, it is hard to believe that Russell could draw from those experiences and try and fill the shoes of the iconic Dudley Moore in the remake of the 1981 classic comedy Arthur. Sure, Russell’s British, but he’s a foot taller and a decade younger in the film than the late Dudley, the diminutive star who became synonymous with the movie’s affable alcoholic billionaire looking for love. Arthur aficionados may be skeptical that Mr. Katy Perry can pull off the role–the film hits theaters April 8–but Russell tells Elle he was nothing but confident from the start. “He’s a cultural icon … I wasn’t frightened to take on the role,” the actor says of the character. “A billionaire playboy in this day and age having to make a choice between marrying for love or money seemed a very attractive proposition.”

And what was it like for this real-life recovering addict to play a character who spends much of his time drunk? Again, not only was he convinced he could do it, he thought his checkered past even gave him an advantage. “It was very strange … I kept a little plastic bottle of booze around the set that I’d smell before each take. That really helped me because I’ve got huge emotional resources to call upon.” When asked if he’s ever tempted by the stuff, he says “no.” In times of stress and difficulty, it’s surprising how one’s first impulse can be to drink or take drugs,” he explains. “But I don’t want to be that person again. I’m happy with who I am now.”  Having the sexy 26-year-old pop star Katy Perry as a wife probably helps. Here he sports D&G wraparound shades while out and about. They’re available in four masculine frame hues. — rpuccia

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