Russell Brand: 'Americans don't like being told what to think by the English'

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Since marrying and relocating to Los Angeles, I've changed the way I research my stand-up The way I worked used to govern all my time anyway. Then, add to that a domestic life, and it's really hard to do anything like watch a film or go to a gig or remain engaged. Also, I think life in Los Angeles is kind of insular, in that you don't really know too much about what's going on in the world. You don't have a print media in America anywhere, really. And with television media – I'm sure you can seek stuff out, but broadly speaking it's all celebrity- and entertainment-led, and quite right-wing.

I avoid sycophants One of the things I'm most proud of is that I work with people who come from similar backgrounds to me, and have similar impressions. Danny [O'Connor] is also from Essex, and is ostensibly my bodyguard. But he has no censorship in the way he behaves around me in terms of telling me if he thinks I'm being arrogant or big-headed.

My wife Katy [Perry] inspires me in many ways She's settled me and focused me on my work. She is a positive force, completely. I mean, I don't look at it as being a resolution to my problems. I know she's an independent woman who has her own story and narrative. But I still go and work for months at a time, spend a week or two weeks away from her, and all the things I've cultivated – spirituality, exercise, different things – that energy has to go somewhere.

I was flattered when Helen Mirren said I was 'genuinely interested' in women Even when I was single and marauding, although there was obviously a predatory nature due to the numbers, it was always very sweet and respectful and kind of adoring, never sly or sleazy or manipulative. I was an enthusiast!

I've come to realise some fundamental differences between America and Britain I don't think Katy fully has an understanding of "Sachsgate". It's like me trying to get a handle on Thanksgiving, or why they have schoolchildren's basketball on telly.

This is especially true if you're hosting awards ceremonies The problems Ricky Gervais had after the Golden Globes probably boils down to the fact that Americans are more sensitive than we realise. I've had controversies in that area myself, at the MTV Awards. I was very surprised when it happened to me – I was like, "What? I thought everyone liked Barack Obama and didn't like George W Bush!" I thought I was expressing a populist opinion. I misunderstood American politics and American culture massively; I incorrectly presumed the complicité of my audience. They don't like being told what to think by the English.

Staying sober is a daily challenge I mean, my problem now is not, "Oh God, I'm gonna leap over that bar and grab some Cognac," or go out and try to find out where you score smack round here. And I'm sure I could do it within 90 minutes if I needed to... It's much more about not getting resentful about things. Really, it's a spiritual thing. It's accepting that however important you think your problems are, you play a part in those problems. And probably one of the things you should look at is not being so self-involved.

I wanted my new film, 'Arthur', to be very tender and beautiful It kind of reminds me of the films Big and Tootsie. It's got real heart and care, whereas a lot of contemporary comedy that I watch – and have been in – is very youthful and flippant and slightly frat in its sensibility. This Arthur is distinct from the original, which was an R-rated movie; this is PG-13. It's like a fairytale.

Russell Brand, 35, is an English comedian and actor. 'Arthur' (12A) is out now

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