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Bluntly Speaking | Adrien Brody
an emily blunt interview

 

 

 

 

 

Adrien 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.

Dressed 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.

It's 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.

It's 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 of you
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.

AB: 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
that. I'm from Queens, actually.

E: So he's wrong on all counts. You're not even nice?

AB: He's wrong on all counts. I'm not always nice, either. I try to be, but…[laughter]

E: How would you describe The Jacklet - as a film? Is it all a dream…or his reality?

AB: 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
films 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. And I
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.
But 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
soul, 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
wearing, how 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?

AB: Very hostile (laughs). No-no. What do you mean?

E: Right- sorry, the lighting, etc.

AB: 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
energy 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
restrained in 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
sitting 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
production 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
organic 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?

AB: 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 I am
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, so
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?

AB: 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.

E: [laughter] Yeah, that's creepy!

AB: 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
and 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
into 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
effects but also his own creative vision for something like that he's been so passionate about since he was ten.

END


Boy this fella likes to talk! Gotta love New Yorkers! The Jacket is is theaters now- it's a wonderful performance by Ade. Enjoy.



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