Adam Brody is a lot like Seth Cohen. Slightly awkward and neurotic, his sentences are unleashed in a klutzy frenzy with sporadic renewals of enthusiasm. He is neatly dressed in a tucked-in, button-down shirt paired with skinny jeans, and his trademark Jew-fro has some serious bounce. Seth is, of course, the character on Fox’s popular teen drama “The O.C.” that turned Brody into an unlikely pinup idol whose poster may or may not have graced your little sister’s bedroom wall(s). Dubbed T.V.’s sexiest geek by the Los Angeles Times, Seth was Zack Morris for the Apple generation – a pop-culture savvy comic book nut who still managed to score the bombshell (co-star Rachel Bilson, on and, for three years, off screen).
Before the show wrapped in 2007 after four seasons, Brody had been quietly attempting a career transition into film. He was cast in a minor role as – you guessed it – a computer geek in director Doug Liman’s 2005 spy film “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (Liman served as executive producer of “The O.C.’s” first season). Brody’s first starring role was in the coming-of-age drama “In the Land of Women” opposite Kristen Stewart. It was supposed to be his breakthrough role, but the tone-deaf film was a critical and commercial misfire. Entertainment Weekly gave the film an ‘F’ saying it flaunted “dialogue so fakey-cute it makes your ears hurt.” He also appeared in minor roles as a wisecracking talent agent in 2006’s “Thank You For Smoking” and 2008’s “Death in Love.”
In 2009, it looked like Brody would finally vault himself to Michael Cera status. He was cast in the starring role of a heartthrob singer with cruel intentions opposite Megan Fox in the Diablo Cody-written “Jennifer’s Body.” The dark comedy was too dark, however, and failed to find a fanbase.
Brody’s latest film, THE ROMANTICS, isn’t likely to propel him to Hollywood star status, but it’s a step in the right direction. Directed by Galt Niederhoffer, and based on her novel of the same name, the film concerns seven college friends who reunite six years later for the wedding of Lila (Anna Paquin) and Tom (Josh Duhamel). However, the shit hits the fan when the maid of honor , Laura (Katie Holmes), and the groom try to revive their long-dormant romance. Brody plays a 30-year-old writer – his real-life age – who is grappling with failed expectations. The film, which also stars Elijah Wood and Malin Akerman, opened on September 10 with the week’s highest per-screen average of $22,764 at 2 theaters, and will expand on September 24.
MMM sat down with Brody to chat about his upcoming role in “Scream 4,” his slow transition from TV to film, and his music/movie picks.
Brody is out on the balcony of the brand spanking new – and still in the latter stages of construction – Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in Lower Manhattan, snapping photos of co-stars Josh Duhamel and Elijah Wood as they share a smoke. Brody enters, and places his Nikon film camera on the table.
MANHATTAN MOVIE MAGAZINE: Have you always been into photography?
ADAM BRODY: No. It’s pretty new. You know, it’s a new hobby. It’s fun, it’s a little artistic, and you can take it on the go. I have a film camera. When you don’t know what you got, it’s fun when you’re dropping [the film] off.
MMM: Cool. So how did you get involved with “The Romantics?”
BRODY: I got involved through the traditional ways of agent/meeting. I thought it was a smart script and it seemed like a blast, and it was. It’s a nostalgia piece that tries and captures a moment. And I just liked the group being together so much. It’s such a fun group. It’s one of the most fun times I’ve ever had making a film.
MMM: So you all hung out and bonded.
BRODY: Yeah. We were in Long Island and it was off-season, so we were certainly the only tourists in town, and really had it to ourselves. We were really isolated in a great way. We went to dinner every night at this place called The Frisky Oyster – there were other good restaurants, but that one was choice. And then we made a movie. Hung out on the beach… autoerotic asphyxiation. There was a lot of that.
MMM: When you signed on was Liv Tyler still cast in the lead role?
BRODY: Yes, I believe so.
MMM: What do you think Katie Holmes brings to the role that Liv couldn’t?
BRODY: I think they’re both great, actually. What’s cool about Katie is you haven’t gotten to see her do as much of this. She’s so good in this movie and it’s been a minute since she’s been the lead. It’s really a nice return to form for her. So, I think there’s a freshness to it that she brings that’s kind of exciting.
MMM: What drew you to your character?
BRODY: Coming to terms with failed expectations. Again, it’s a small thing. I was mostly there for the drinking and hanging out. [Laughs] But what I like is I see a lot in movies of “Oh, I could have been a great architect or writer. I am. I’m just afraid to go for it.” I’m a little more pessimistic and I would say that most of the time it’s not a fear of trying as much as a lack of skill; for all of us. So here’s a guy who wants to be a writer and he’s coming to terms with the idea that he’s finished it, and the book might not be very good. It’s a very depressing but adult view to have.
MMM: I know you worked indirectly with Katie Holmes on “Thank You For Smoking,” since you two didn’t share any scenes together. Had you met Katie before?
BRODY: No. I never met her before this.
MMM: And what makes you so good at playing a talent agent? You’ve now done it well twice, in “Smoking” and “Death in Love.”
BRODY: I don’t know? I think, honestly, they’re talky and I have a mouth.
BRODY: [Laughs] No. I didn’t try – nor did the filmmakers try – to do any one guy, specifically. But there are pieces of Adam Levine [of Maroon 5], Brandon Flowers [of The Killers] and Jared Leto.
MMM: How do you think it’s gone so far transitioning from television to film?
[Brody gets silent]
BRODY: Um… it’s good… Pretty well. It’s slow… Slow-going. Slowly but surely? Is that the phrase? It’s gone ok. It’s gone fine.
MMM: Is film a medium you’d like to stay in?
BRODY: Well, there’s something to the schedule that is appealing. Also creatively constantly changing it up. But at the same time, you get to do a lot more acting on television. Even if you’re doing movies all year long, you’re not doing that many scenes. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to do a play. But, I don’t know. There’s no master plan.
MMM: Did you and Katie ever talk about how you’ve shared similar career paths from teen TV drama to film?
BRODY: Yeah! Television, to movies, to Tom Cruise. [Laughs] No, not necessarily. We haven’t had too many “Dawson’s Creek” vs. “The O.C.” conversations, sadly.
MMM: You’re about to co-star in a big franchise, “Scream 4.” Could you talk about your character in the film?
BRODY: I play Deputy Ross Hoss and myself, Anthony Anderson and Marley Shelton are now underlings of Sheriff Dewey, played by David Arquette. It’s a surreal experience being on the “Scream” set with Wes Craven directing, ghost face walking around, Sheriff Dewey, Gale Weathers, Sidney Prescott all in the same room. It’s funny. I think it’s been like 10 years since the last one but they’re still there with the main characters, which makes it so iconic, in a way.
MMM: So are the original characters still the leads, or are they essentially passing the torch to a new generation of actors?
BRODY: They’re sort of sharing the duty. It’s half them and then there’s a new high school crop, and there’s us cops who sort of bounce back-and-forth. We’re really just guarding the perimeter.
MMM: Are they trying to reboot you at “Dewey 2.0?”
BRODY: I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s what they’re doing. I have one more day of shooting, but everyone has been lovely. We were filming in Michigan, which is really nice. A lot of mild-mannered crowds watching the filming. It’s been a pleasant summer job.
MMM: Were you the one who convinced Anna Paquin to cameo in “Scream 4?”
BRODY: [Laughs] No! In fact, we haven’t spoken about it. I haven’t seen her and I wasn’t around when she filmed her stuff, but I was very excited to hear about it.
MMM: When you play such a memorable TV character, how difficult is it to shake the audience’s perception that you are Seth Cohen?
BRODY: I don’t know. I mean… I think they can shake it to the degree that it’s true. I’m not him. But, a lot of me is him and that’s just the way it is. Hopefully they’ll want to see Seth in some other projects. I don’t worry about it too much. What we have in common is there and it’s not going anywhere, and what we don’t… it’s not hard to not be him.
MMM: Was your evil character in “Jennifer’s Body” a conscious effort to shake the Seth Cohen image?
BRODY: No. Not really. I have a terrible singing voice so I was hesitant to do it at first. I was like, “I can’t sing!” And [the filmmakers] were like, “We’ll figure it out.” In hindsight, it’s one of my favorite roles. I love the movie and I’m so happy I did it. But, stupidly, I was actulaly hesitant about it at the time. It wasn’t a real conscious effort but it worked nicely. Maybe for a year I was running from that character. But Seth Cohen doesn’t haunt me. I’m really proud of him. I like that little fucker. I’m happy that him and I shared some time together.
MMM: You’ve shared the screen with some high-profile young actresses – Kristen Stewart, Megan Fox, and now, Katie Holmes. What’s it been like to act with these young women who are so present in the public consciousness?
BRODY: These people are nicer than you’d ever think, for starters. The only dicks are the ones you wouldn’t think would be, and they’re just raging assholes.
MMM: Like Elijah Wood? [Laughs]
BRODY: [Laughs] Like Elijah Wood. Maniac. But all the ingénues, they’re all as sweet as can be – so far. They’ve all been really nice.
MMM: Your “O.C.” character Seth was very pop-culture conscious, and you seem to be as well. What sort of bands or other things are you into these days?
BRODY: In theaters, the last movies I really liked were “MacGruber” and “Greenberg.”
MMM: I liked “MacGruber” too. I don’t know why it didn’t really connect with audiences. It’s a unique, immature brand of humor, I suppose. I thought the same thing about “Hot Rod.”
BRODY: I liked “Hot Rod” too, but not as much as “MacGruber.” “MacGruber” has me like crying, actually. And bands – The Black Keys album is probably my favorite album of the year, although I’m no connoisseur of hip music. I just listen to the big hits. And I’ve been trying to educate myself in the older stuff lately – my parent’s films. I saw “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” recently, and that’s really stuck with me. I saw “The Conversation” for like the third time, but that really works for me right now. I’ve been playing a little music with some friends. I have my drums in my living room so I can just have an impromptu session anytime I want. That and writing. I think every actor writes in their spare time, a little – screenplays, erotic poetry. [Laughs] You have to. You have so much creative downtime as an actor – unless you’re method and living in a cave to get ready or whatever – you’ve got to put it elsewhere, too. So, yeah – a little writing, a little music.
THE ROMANTICS is now playing in New York and Los Angeles and expands to theaters nationwide on September 24th.
Vulture is reporting that George Clooney – the director – is looking at Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and possibly Chris Pine to star in FARRAGUT NORTH, an adaptation of Beau Willimon’s critically acclaimed play, set during the Iowa primary of a presidential race. The site says that “the story is set in Des Moines, Iowa, just weeks before the state’s Democratic caucuses officially commence; it follows the exploits of a twenty-something presidential campaign spinmeister/wunderkind named Stephen Myers, and the dirty pool he plays to get his candidate the nomination against a rival senator.” Clooney reportedly has offers out to Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei. Clooney is also expected to take a small role in the movie. Shooting is targeted for a February start date.
Ryan Reynolds and Bradley Cooper are attached to star in an untitled original action comedy written by Sheldon Turner (“Up in the Air”), according to Risky Business. The blog says the film “follows two friends, who are also San Francisco cops, whose fathers were once partners on the police force. The older generation is forced out of retirement to help their sons crack a case, with typically antagonistic results.”
With Devil, the first film in M. Night Shyamalan’s NIGHT CHRONICLES, hitting theaters on September 17, the filmmaker revealed to MTV that we’ll see the story he was going to use for Unbreakable 2 in the third movie in the film series. ‘I cannibalized the idea for the sequel to ‘Unbreakable’ for one of the ‘Night Chronicles,’” revealed Shyamalan. “It was such a cool idea for a villain, and it was actually originally in the script for ‘Unbreakable,’ and it was too much. There were too many villains, so I pulled this villain out and was like, ‘I’ll make this the second flick.’” Instead, Shyamalan used the villain and story for the film that will come after Twelve Strangers, which is expected to be the second movie in the “Night Chronicles.”
A little over a week ago, it was reported that Angelina Jolie had passed a second time on the lead female role in Alfonso Cuaron’s planned 3D space survival thriller GRAVITY, which already had attached Robert Downey Jr. cast in a supporting role. Despite recent rumors of Rachel Weisz being offered the part after other potential candidates like Blake Lively and Scarlett Johansson were nixed, word now comes from The Hollywood Reporter that Natalie Portman has been offered the part, having earned buzz out of Venice and Telluride for her performance in Darren Aronofsky’s thriller Black Swan. With a reported budget of $80 million, the film focuses on a female astronaut sent out to fix the Hubble telescope who is the sole survivor left stranded after space junk hits her transport, so she must fight her way back to earth.
Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”) has signed to star alongside Tom Cruise in Paramount Pictures’ MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE IV, according to the studio. It is the second big part Renner has landed following Hawkeye in Marvel Studios and Paramount’s The Avengers, coming to theaters on May 4, 2012. Renner can next be seen in theaters in Ben Affleck’s The Town on September 17.
John Cusack revealed via his Twitter that he would be taking on the role of Edgar Allan Poe in James (“V For Vendetta”) McTeigue’s thriller THE RAVEN.
Katie Holmes is in talks to star opposite Adam Sandler and Al Pacino in JACK AND JILL, says The Hollywood Reporter. In the Dennis Dugan-directed script, a family man by the name of Jack deals with his twin sister, Jill, when she visits for Thanksgiving then won’t leave. Sandler will play both characters. Holmes would play Sandler’s wife; Pacino is set to play himself. An October shoot is planned for the film.
Details are scarce, but USA Today is reporting on two cameos you can expect in SCREAM 4. Kristen Bell and “True Blood’s” Anna Paquin have roles in the sequel, still shooting in Michigan under the direction of Wes Craven. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Nico Tortorella, Anthony Anderson and Marielle Jaffe star in the next entry opening on April 15, 2011.
In an article talking about the popular “Halo” franchise, Variety published quotes from Franchise Development Director Frank O’Connor about whether we’ll ever see a HALO MOVIE. The trade says that Microsoft is still developing scripts by Alex Garland (“28 Days Later”), Stuart Beattie (“Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise), novelist D.B. Weiss and Josh Olson (“A History of Violence”) as potential blueprints. “We’re still interested in making an excellent ‘Halo’ movie,” O’Connor said. “We’ve created an awful lot of documentation and materials to support a feature film. We have a good idea of what kind of story we want to tell, but won’t move on it until there’s a great reason to do it. We’re in no particular hurry.”
127 HOURS: The trailer has hit for Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle’s upcoming film, 127 Hours, starring the ubiquitous James Franco. The film – based on a true story – is about hiker Aron Ralston, who gets his arm trapped under a boulder, and must amputate it to survive. The film screened at Telluride and critics are already talking Oscar.
BLACK SWAN: Darren Aronofky’s much anticipated follow up to The Wrestler concerns a New York ballet company’s rendition of Swan Lake, and featured Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as two rival dancers in the production. Oh, and they totally make out.
…Until next week!
Tags: 127 Hours, Alfonso Cuaron, Black Swan, Bradley Cooper, Devil, Farragut North, George Clooney, Gravity, Halo movie, Jack and Jill, Jeremy Renner, John Cusack, M. Night Shyamalan, Mission Impossible IV, Natalie Portman, Night Chronicles, Ryan Reynolds, Scream 4, The Raven, Unbreakable 2
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