Speaking | Adrien Brody
an emily blunt interview
Brody reminds me of a MGM musical
he's lanky like a Donald O'Connor, and
like an Astaire, he appears to be ready to break out into song and dance at any
moment. At least that's the impression I get as he waltzes into the room.
in a GQ-esque pin-striped suit shirt with a crisp turquoise blue dress shirt opened
to just the right button, with an oddly gaudy jolly roger necklace P. Diddy might
have designed for Johnny Depp to hand out as party favors during a private screening
of Pirates of the Caribbean (the huge sequined accessory Adrien tells me,
"is just for fun!" - after he notices my eyebrow rising at its abrupt
- yet still somehow attractive - intrusion on his exquisite suit), this man has
style. Clothes like his frame...so do I. Finally seeing why folks call this man
handsome, I am converted.
his work that got me here though. Everyone remembers "the kiss" when
he won his Bestest Actorini Oscar(R) for The Pianist.
That was not his first film- but that hardly matters. It opened the door for him.
Adrien's latest role in John Maybury's multi-layered genre-bending The
Jacket, is again a grand example of Brody's talents. Ade plays Jack Sparks
an ex-soldier that finds himself erroneously sentenced into a mental institute
and "experimented" on by Kris Kristofferson...shudder.
intense. So is Brody. He's lightening fast - well he is from Queens after all.
Emily: The Jacket has displayed quite a performance! What kind of preparation
did you do for this role?
Adrien Brody: Thanks! Uh, yeah, I grew up living
in New York in an apartment there, and it was pretty small. No, I did. I actually
found a sensory deprivation chamber
where we were shooting in Glasgow. Are
you familiar with them, these tanks where you lay in a thin saline solution -
I think. It was really an interesting
experience. I would do quadruple sessions
that they were pretty amazed that I could endure, and then you become very aware
of how your mind works and how cyclical thoughts are and how you sort of kind
can guide them. It's an interesting way to meditate in a way, but also
to separate yourself from your physical being.
E: The director of The
Jacket, John Maybury, said you got the part because you look like an Arab but
you're a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx.
But John is wrong. I don't feel like I look like an Arab, nor am I from the Bronx,
and I am Jewish and Catholic so it's kind of- I was raised with all of
I'm from Queens, actually.
E: So he's wrong on all counts. You're not
He's wrong on all counts. I'm not always nice, either. I try to be, but
E: How would you describe The Jacklet - as a film? Is it all a dream
That's up to you. That's up to you. Well, I think it's the kind of, it's pretty
amazing to go to a movie and not be spoon fed, as you know because you see
all of the time. You don't want to be fed everything. I like the ambiguity of
it, because like in life, things are ambiguous, and people are ambiguous, and
people's interpretations of people are Ambiguous, and after, that's part of what
attracted me to this role was the fact that the character is not really defined
by any of this. His ethnicity, his religious beliefs, where he's from, on any
level that's not described, nor does he have any allegiance to his own past, which
defines us, how we are raised and how we are told who we are and what we are.
think it's a remarkable place to be as an actor or at any point in life
to kind of- it's liberating but at the same time, who are you? That's a very kind
of exciting concept to explore in depth, because it's all a way for us to kind
of understand or assume we understand each other, by how we perceive one another.
now we're perceiving each other on a very kind of physical level, or a level of
beliefs or whatever, but that's not tapping into who we are within that or the
not even the mind or the beliefs who are we within that. Especially in Hollywood,
that's hard to obtain, with everyone telling you, what are you
do you look. You look this way, you look that way. My process is that I have to
kind of believe everything my character is believing
while he's believing it
or while he's enduring it or experiencing it. My character is going mad whether
I'm dead or I'm dreaming or whatever, I'm going mad in
that moment, and I have
to experience that as part of my reality.
E: Geeze- got you goin' huh
[laughter] What kind of shooting conditions did you face during the scenes in
the morgue drawer?
Very hostile (laughs). No-no. What do you mean?
E: Right- sorry, the lighting,
Well, we shot in a mental institution in the basement, they built this in the
basement of a mental institution and it had that vibe. It had the kind of
somehow of that. We were using real gurneys and they were all kind of instruments
of medicinal- I don't know, professional instruments around that were frightening,
and the crew was nice, but the state of mind I was in was not, I don't even try
to communicate with anyone when I'm working. You know, I was
the jacket, and I would often ask to be left alone on the gurney and wait while
they set up the next shot instead of them getting me out of it and
around and having a conversation. When I'm done, it's cool, 'have a good night
everyone.' But in the moment I'm not really- but the lighting was interesting.
I think Peter Deming is a phenomenal D.P., he's really phenomenal, and the
designer is great. On all levels, it was a very creative environment, including
the process that they edited the film and did the effects. It was very
and very much like crafting something. They were crushing moth wings and blood
on negatives and blood on my outfit and coffee stains and hopefully not urine
[laughter] , but things that were very reminiscent of urine, and it had a real
artist's feel to everything, which is wonderful.
E: Sounds grueling.
How does that compare to playing in the new green-screen friendly King Kong?
It's very similar. [laughs] No, look, King Kong is really wonderful because it's,
for me, it's a chance to not subject myself to the emotional torment, but now
physically abused. I'm spending eleven hours on a harness shooting stunts
and when you're doing these things that you can't put somebody else in there,
I'm learning another aspect of filmmaking, which is very exciting, andphysical
pain is easier to deal with. [laughter]
E: So when you're working on green
screen - how tough is it to imagine a giant monkey?
That's the real challenge! [laughs]. Well, It;s interesting. I mean, there is
on one level, the challenge I having to experience things that don't exist, but
that's also similar to what I'm doing having an out-of-body reaction in there
in a drawer.
You can do more to prepare for that, but at the same time, I do
have a very vivid imagination. That's part of what drew me to being an actor.
I have a very vivid
imagination and you take it seriously and it's not a joke
and it's not like, 'oh my God, there's the monkey again!' It's like what do you
do when there is a 25
pound, a 25 foot creature that sees you and senses you
and smells you and doesn't like you from before.
[laughter] Yeah, that's creepy!
What do you do? You smile or you run, and that's the only choice, and you run
for your life, and you run many times on many different colored greens
blue treadmills and do the best you can to believe. [laughter] But look, the beauty
of it is that it's character driven, including the depth that's going
the creation of Kong, so it is going to be in my opinion the best combination
of elements because it's going to have this Peter's unbelievable team for
but also his own creative vision for something like that he's been so passionate
about since he was ten.
this fella likes to talk! Gotta love New Yorkers! The
Jacket is is theaters now- it's a wonderful performance by Ade. Enjoy.