After isolating himself from the rest of the world, Brian finds companionship from an unlikely source.
Brian and Charles is an odd little film about an isolated farmer named Brian, who gets rather lonely. Brian builds himself an unfashionable clunky robot for companionship named Charles. Somewhere in between charming and absolutely creepy, this short mockumentary styled film brings us through the learning relationship of the two.
David and Chris had actually been playing these characters in live comedy shows for a while but wanted to do something a bit different with them so they wrote this script. Rupert then gave it to me and we went from there. It was written as a mockumentary but we all knew it wouldn’t have worked as a straight sitcom type mock-doc it needed to have more of that art-doc feel. I’d made a parody of those modern types of documentaries a couple of years ago called ‘Phil: A Tribute To A Man‘ that was deliberately all style and no substance. So it was exciting for me to use this kind of style but this time with an actual story to tell.
Through its absolute absurdity and monstrosity (let’s face it, that’s one of the ugliest/terrifying robots we’ve ever seen), we find lots of relatable compassion in the relationship between the two. This may be due to its stagnant similarity to the human/dog relationship, where Charlie’s [lack of] intelligence rivals one of a pet with a vocabulary. Splendidly written by David and Chris, the humor level dispenses a natural feeling and flow all while keeping an intriguing tone, almost giving the allure of turning into a horror film at times.
During the actual shooting of it I wanted it to feel as real as possible so we only ever covered off one angle and if something happened then the camera would follow and we would try and do it all in one take. We also improvised a lot, this so useful in this type of film because not only is it often funnier but it keeps it unpredictable for people like Toby the DOP so when the camera moves it doesn’t feel rehearsed. It also meant we ruined a lot of takes by pissing ourselves laughing though.