Russell Brand has said the time of his biggest success in Hollywood was when he felt “deliriously disconnected and unhappy”.
The comedian found global fame when he appeared in films including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him To The Greek and Arthur, but said he felt disillusioned by the process of movie-making.
Speaking at the Alternative MacTaggart Interview at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, he said: “It’s possible I had to amend my attitude as talent to realise if you go in thinking ‘I’m earning good money to do something’ that is fine, these bits of downtime aren’t such a big deal.
“But I felt driven to do things that had meaning and was excited to do those films and felt disillusioned it wasn’t more enjoyable and more of a laugh.”
He continued: “They had a load of joy in them but I like to be involved in the process and that is what I’m looking forward to. How can I temper this need for things to truthful and real and authentic?
“Whether it’s simple, gleeful, joyful things that have truth in them, there is room for a sense of truth.”
In conversation with his long-time collaborator and XFM co-host, Matt Morgan, he said: “I was not feeling very well at all and I was very unhappy at a time in my life where, according to my idea of what would make me happy when I was a little kid (I should have been happy).
“When that stuff was actually happening I remember feeling deliriously disconnected and unhappy.”
He added: “So much of what is in the mix with me is performer and ego and I get inflated and carried away, it’s important for me to be in a position where there is good collaboration.”
He said Morgan had been an important figure in his life after so-called Sachsgate, when he and Jonathan Ross phoned Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs while on BBC Radio 2 in 2008 and left obscene messages on his voicemail.
He said: “You have pointed stuff out to me. Around Sachsgate, you said ‘I know what happened to you, Russell, you were in your head and leaving that message you thought it was Manuel in a little white jacket holding a silver platter’.
“That is the image I had in my head. I was brought up by television – Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Only Fools And Horses. They were like babysitters for me, bleeding in and out of reality.”
The incident prompted Sachs to make a formal complaint to the BBC and Brand resigned from his radio show. Ross was suspended from his chat show and later left the corporation.
After the actor died last year, his widow Melody Sachs told the Daily Mail: “He was a sitting target for them with their filthy minds and cruel jibes and they knew that he’d never retaliate.
“They were right. My husband was a gentleman. He would never have stooped to their level.”