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The Friendship
"Hobson, we'll hang out together.” - Arthur

"I've never hung out in my life and I'm not going to start now.” - Hobson

Arthur's days typically begin with a champagne breakfast, followed by a series of whimsical pursuits and extravagant purchases that take him all over Manhattan, and end with bringing back any number of newfound friends to crash with him in his lavish penthouse atop the Pierre Hotel. He knows Hobson will sort things out in the morning. With practiced efficiency she will open the windows, collect the receipts and oust any remaining revelers—after reuniting them with their clothing and conducting a quick frisk for any Bach valuables that may have fallen into their pockets during the previous night's debauchery—while dryly suggesting that Arthur might consider doing something a bit more useful with his life. Then, the two will settle in to read the paper.

This absurd ritual "has that aspect of the classic master-servant relationship that dates back to the earliest comedic literature, where the servant is more competent than the master he serves, and is actually the authority figure,” Brand suggests. "It's a hallmark of British humor, and a big part of what makes ‘Arthur' so much fun.”

"You can't have Arthur without Hobson there to smack him on the head now and then and say, ‘What's wrong with you?,'” adds Brezner.

"Since his father died young and his mother is too busy running the business, Hobson is the only real family he's ever known. She's his ballast, his rock,” says McCormick. "Strict and formal, she nevertheless adores him and always tells him he can achieve anything he wants—although, lately, she has begun to wonder if he will ever meet that potential.”

But there's more to Arthur than is immediately apparent. "People who aren't aware of Russell's range as a dramatic actor may be surprised at the emotional performance he delivers,” says Winer. "Not to undersell the degree to which he's hilarious in this movie, because he is, but the story has some dramatic elements as well and he carries those off brilliantly.”

In concert with this, what Helen Mirren particularly appreciated about the Hobson role was that, unlike the others in Arthur's life, "Hobson is not a simple enabler. She's a strong character. She doesn't so much stand up to him, because technically he is her employer, but she's perfectly capable and unafraid of telling him he's behaving like an idiot and she knows him well enough to send him up. It's a rich, intense and complicated relationship; there is undeniably a great love there and a great depth of feeling.”

Says Winer, "Helen brings all her regal bearing to the role of the austere nanny but also a delightfully dry wit and comic timing that's a real kick to watch. She and Russell had a great, playful chemistry together that was not only perfect for the movie but kept going off-camera, which helped to keep all of us entertained.”

"Russell is so incredibly inventive and energetic, just a constant flow of imagination. It's extraordinary,” she says.

"Working with Helen is inspiring, interesting, a real honor,” Brand responds. "She's proper but also funny, quirky and totally charming. All in all, I had a great time on this film. I got to kiss Jennifer Garner, I got to kiss Greta Gerwig and I got to kiss Helen Mirren…. Granted, that last one wasn't in the script.”

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