Russell Brand On For Vernon God Little

Werner Herzog's media satire staffs up

DBC Pierre’s Booker-winning novel Vernon God Little is a decade old and has been close to a big-screen adaptation for much of that time. Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski was linked with the project for a time, but Werner Herzog has the conch now and his version has inched closer to reality with The Wrap bringing news that Russell Brand, Sasha Pieterse and Austin Abrams are all in talks to appear.

The Vernon of the title – the role which US InBetweeners' actor Austin Abrams will take - is a high-schooler whose best friend has gunned down six bullying schoolmates before killing himself. When the media circus descends on his Texas town, Vernon becomes the story, and, fingered as an accomplice, he decides to flee to Mexico. Pieterse will play Vernon’s shallow-but-alluring crush and Brand a slippery, conniving reporter sent down to cover the story.

Perfume and The Name Of The Rose co-writer Andrew Birkin is the man adapting the story for Herzog. As in the case of We Need To Talk About Kevin with a hint of A Confederacy Of Dunces, the book follows the aftermath of a high-school massacre in a way that doesn’t immediately lend itself to the screen. Birkin will have his work cut out translating Pierre’s caustic social commentary to the screen, but we can see Brand fittingly comfortably into his twistedly comic worldview.

Herzog, meanwhile, is currently busy on Gertrude Bell biopic Queen Of The Desert. That has Nicole Kidman playing Bell, iconic explorer, writer, archaeologist, peacemaker, map maker and attachée for the British Empire who left her mark on the early part of the 20th century.