Rosie O’Donnell’s crush on Tom Cruise is so 1996.
Now a decade since her enormously successful talk show went off the air, O’Donnell is back. This time on OWN- Oprah Winfrey’s Network that is- with a new talk show and a new crush: Russell Brand.
“I think he is epically, epically genius,” O’Donnell told “Nightline” anchor Cynthia McFadden. “And his life story is fascinating…he’s my new sort of boy crush.”
She said she noticed Brand when he hosted the MTV VMA’s in 2008 but didn’t think much of him until she watched him do a comedy bit all about having hosted the VMA’s and thought, “it was the most brilliant thing I had ever seen in my life.”
The two ended up meeting by chance, in the American Airlines lounge at LAX airport.
“I grabbed him and I said, ‘Russell Brand,..you are a genius.’ And he was like ‘Oh Rosie O’Donnell so nice of you to say.”
In preparation for her interview with Brand, O’Donnell read both of his books, “My Booky Wook” and “Booky Wook 2.”
Even still, O’Donnell has got her work cut out for her with the fast talking Brit.
“My job is going to be to stay present and listen. It’s like you have to be boom boom boom boom. I think like he and Robin Williams together, I think that the universe would explode. I mean Robin Williams, by American comic standards, no one is as fast as him. It’s like he has a computer that works ten times faster than the normal person. And that’s Russell as well. And to add the British accent, and his absurdly large vocabulary. I am going to have to be at the top of my game. So I have to bring it.”
Brand and O’Donnell’s old boy crush Tom Cruise have been down in Miami, where she owns a home, shooting the upcoming film “Rock of Ages” based on the Broadway musical.
“Tom knows, I sent him a little text. I said Tommy I will always love ya, but move over, Russell Brand is in,” O’Donnell told “Nightline.” “You know, a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do. But I think he is just lovely.”
All joking aide, O’Donnell’s real love these days is Michelle Rounds, a corporate head hunter for an IT company in New York. The two met in a Starbucks a few months ago.
“I thought she was a 28-year-old heterosexual girl cause that’s what she looked like to me. And she’s a 40-year-old gay woman,” O’Donnell said. “My gaydar was way off. She’s really lovely…we laugh a lot…and my kids adore her.”
Rosie’s show premieres Oct. 10, live at 7 p.m. Eastern, on OWN.
Check back Oct. 10 for more on Cynthia McFadden’s interview with Rosie O’Donnell and tune into “ Nightline” at 11:35 p.m. ET to watch the full story.
Follow “Nightline” Producer Steve Baker on twitter @stevenrbaker