I admit that covering early Sunday morning junkets are always a struggle for me so it was greatly appreciate when Adam Brody who stars in Warner Bros.’ In the Land of Women came in affable, attentive and eager to talk about his new flick.
“I’m ready. I’m pumped,” Brody said as he sat down.
The film is about soft core porn writer Carter Webb (Brody), who has been dumped by his hot actress/model girlfriend. Devastated by the breakup, he flees from Los Angeles to his grandmother’s house in Michigan. He goes determined to write the book he’s always dreamed of and instead ends up meeting the family who lives across the street and unexpectedly strikes up inimitable relationships with Sarah Hardwicke (Meg Ryan) and her oldest daughter Lucy (Kristen Stewart) that offer him a unique perspective not only on life, but death as well.
ComingSoon.net talked to Brody about his latest project and what life is like after “The O.C.”
ComingSoon.net: How did you come to the project?
Adam Brody: The old-fashioned way. My agent sent the script to me and it worked out nicely. I read it and, it was funny. I hadn’t read the script yet and my agent called me and said “the script’s really good” and I went to The Coffee Bean, this was three years ago now, I went to The Coffee Bean to get coffee and Jon, who I did not know yet, was meeting an actress there who I knew so I bumped into her, we said hello and she introduced me to Jon and he said “hey, I think I’m meeting you in a couple of days”. I’m like “oh, I heard about it. I can’t wait to read it, well we should just meet here in a couple of days”. I went home and I read it and it was fantastic. I was in from the first page. I knew I would do it if he would have me. We met in the same spot a couple of days later in the evening and he came in and he’s like “let’s just go to a bar”. I said “alright”. So we went and got a drink and he gave me the part right away. It worked out great. It was a breeze. It was the easiest job I’ve ever gotten in terms of I didn’t have to do anything. I just had to read it. I really lucked out.
CS: Was that script you read the original one that was more R-rated?
Brody: Yeah. It’s funny, this thing has undergone It was a little more rated R and that was it. It was rated R so there was some more cursing. There was a love scene and, not having anything to do with the rating or the indie quality, but I had some more scenes with guys. There was a scene that got cut that I filmed with Clark Gregg where I meet her husband, that’s good, that I liked. There’s a scene on the porn set where you meet my boss. There’s a scene at the end with my best friend who was originally in the diner with me that you finally meet. Just a coincidence. It wasn’t a purposeful thing to excise all the men out of the movie but I think those are just cutting room decisions to keep it at a breezy pace. I don’t know. That said, it is what it is. So much of how it changed doesn’t have to do with the PG-13 rating and the wide release. So much has to do with the nature of filming and editing and things changing through the process and it taking on an unexpected life of its own.
CS: Have you ever had a family member embarrass you like the grandma does in this film?
Brody: Yeah, I had my dad embarrass me horribly. The worst mistake I ever did. This was five years ago or maybe more. My dad was in town and I had an audition and I said “why don’t you just come with me? I’ve got to do this thing and then we’ll get a bite to eat.” I was in an audition where there was a mix and match with girls so you read with them. I was reading with this really cute girl. My dad thinks he’s funny. I think he’s funny in the sense of how not funny he is. I’m not just saying that to be a d**k. His jokes are bad. We did the audition and it was fine and we were leaving and I said, “I think I want to ask for her number so could you go get the car and I’ll meet you there in a minute”. She came out and I started talking to her and my dad pulls up in the car and like honks the horn and rolls down the window and gives me the thumbs up. I was truly pissed. I was actually like “it’s not even funny”. In hindsight it’s funny but at the time, he said “give me a break. She thought it was funny. Come on”. I’m like “it wasn’t, man. You really blew it for me. It’s not funny”.
CS: So did you get her number?
Brody: I did but I don’t think she called me back.
CS: Are there women in your life who have inspired you?
Brody: Yeah, I think every relationship I’ve ever been in has been ultimately a good thing and was really a learning experience. I don’t have any horror stories there. I think my mom is fantastic. She’s a really great person and she instilled in us, if nothing else, compassion.
CS: Did you have to research soft core porn?
Brody: No, because I used to be in it [he’s kidding]. That was actually something I brought to it already.
CS: What was it like working with Jon Kasdan as a first-time director?
Brody: Jon’s fantastic. You would never, ever know it on set. I can’t believe he hasn’t directed a short film. Granted, the household he grew up in is certainly well-versed in film but still, and he wrote it but, it’s not just in the story, in the shooting, for a guy who’s never shot anything, he sure knows a lot about DP’s and lenses and texture and color strips and film stock. It may have been his first thing but he’s absolutely a veteran.
CS: How is he to work with for an actor?
Brody: He’s great. He’s also a good actor. He was giving me some line readings and do it better than I can do it. Also, the script is really personal to him in more helpful ways. It’s not autobiographical, the story but almost anything anyone says in this movie is either from Jon’s life or from someone very close to him. You ask him why a comma is here and he can tell you the personal story. That was actually very helpful in terms of motivation.
CS: Now where did you have this porn experience?
Brody: Well, when I moved to L.A. . I never did soft core porn. It was very rough for a while and I couldn’t find a job [laughter].
CS: You’re a California boy, so would you want to write a story about your high school experience? Would it be anything like the mid-West experience?
Brody: No, I think that’s what Jon’s fascination is with that high school experience, and mine, growing up out here. I grew up in a typical high school, but I spent most of my high school actually at the beach, which the majority of my high school didn’t.
CS: Were you ditching?
Brody: No, but I sort of checked out, socially, around high school. I was reminiscing with a friend the other day and, as a result, the beach was it’s own high school. Everyone had their local beach and a bunch of the surfers from different high schools would go there. As a result, a lot of my high school friends were completely different ages and went to different high schools. And then, I’m friends with a few random bums, who are really crazy people. We still talk about the local bum.
CS: Did you have a Big Kahuna on your beach?
Brody: Sort of, yeah. His name was Emmett and, I don’t want to be rude, but he had an arm problem. He was a really sweet guy, and he never wore a wet suit. It was mind-blowing in the winter. But, if I did write a true movie about my youth, it would heavily involve the beach. I don’t know what that is, emotionally. I just know the setting. It’s weird how similar John and I are in this. Jon went to Crossroads out here, which is not a typical high school experience either, and Carter is very clearly describing that school in the movie. He has this fascination with the high school of John Hughes, and so do I. I have that fascination with the east coast too, and foliage, and all of that, in this idyllic suburb that I’ve never exactly been to, but I’m pretty sure maybe exists.
CS: Did you have any influence on the music in the film?
Brody: Just barely. Jon, obviously, had his opinions and songs picked out. And, we had a great music supervisor on this movie, that does all of Jon’s brother’s movies too. At the end of the day, I weighed in as heavily as I could and I think I got a few songs in there, but I’m really happy with the soundtrack, actually. I think it’s cool. I think it’s also underrated, in the sense that no one’s talking about it, no one’s selling it. I mean, somebody is selling it, but it’s not a big part of this movie, and I actually think it’s a really good soundtrack that is hand-picked. It doesn’t feel like a studio soundtrack. It’s very much a personal reflection of everyone’s tastes that made the movie.
CS: Are you the kind of guy that girlfriends would come to for advice?
Brody: I think I’m good at that stuff. Absolutely. I think I’m a fairly good communicator, and I can offer some good relationship advice, when asked, I believe. I don’t have a lot of high drama friends, so no one’s ever running to me. If you keep needing to ask for advice a lot, then something’s probably not working.
CS: Were you comfortable with this role then?
Brody: Yeah, very much so. I was completely. It was sort of a natural fit. I felt like I got the voice very easy.
CS: How was working with Meg Ryan?
Brody: It was great. She’s really good in the movie, I think. And, it was nice to do a classic romantic comedy walk-and-talk with Meg Ryan, which is sort of her staple. It was nice. I felt like I was doing a piece of classic cinema. I don’t mean the thing will live on, but the Meg Ryan walk-and-talk is a big deal for me.
CS: Was it fun to work with Kristen Stewart?
Brody: Yeah, she’s great. It absolutely was. She’s a fantastic actress.
CS: What did you do when you weren’t on set?
Brody: The one thing I didn’t do was have that active a social life there. It was Vancouver Island, so it kind of closes early. And, Jon was my only peer there, and he was so pre-occupied. The director is so much busier than the actors. So, it was me and my dog. There was a dog park right next to the hotel, so I did that and I saw movies. It was kinda lonely, but in a good way. I had a lot of alone time.
CS: Do you miss the long hours of TV?
Brody: No. I certainly don’t. Not when I’m sitting in the backyard on Monday morning thinking, “wow, I could be in the Cohen kitchen for six hours right now”. No, I don’t.
CS: So what are you doing with the free time?
Brody: I don’t know. I’m sort of figuring that out. It’s the small things. I’m getting adjusted to my old sort of unemployed life where the coffee shop is like eleven, twelve, one, whenever I may get up, that’s a big part of my day, the first appointment of the day. The matinee I see is on the schedule too. It’s the little things. All little things and it’s really fun actually. I enjoy the routine of making your own Sunday routine Monday through Friday.
CS: Are you reading lots of scripts?
Brody: Yeah, of course. I read them too quick. My agent will call me about a script and it won’t get to me for like two days and I’m like piss .I call him like, “just sent it to me. I’ll read it. I’ll get right back to you but, I’m excited. Come on!” But yeah, absolutely. I wish I could say I was reading tons but I just read what comes my way.
CS: What do you think you will miss about “The O.C.”?
Brody: Money. Also, the steady job is nice. Even if it can be a drag or doesn’t feel artistically satisfying, there’s something nice about stability. As much as you bitch about your job, there’s some security knowing it’s there. When you do take it away, it’s definitely a different feeling. And, I’d say the people, but I still keep in contact. Everyone I really want to see from there, I do, on a pretty regular basis. Even that part is not too bad.
CS: Would you ever do an ensemble TV show again?
Brody: Sure, I would. Although, next time around, I will be thinking a little more about schedule and how it’s going to work and what it means for my days. When you’re going to do something for 1-10 years, it’s something to think about. We’ll see if I’m in a position, when that happens, to factor that in.
CS: Did anyone come at you for pilot season?
Brody: A little bit. I was flattered, actually. But, barely. I really wasn’t interested this year, and I don’t know how quickly that will change. I definitely was not ready to jump right back in. I read one thing that I thought, “If it wasn’t this year, and given a slightly different position, I would love to do this.”
CS: Any thought to doing a 30 minute show vs. an hour show?
Brody: Yeah. In fact, if I had my pick of anything and I was doing TV, I probably would do a 30 minute, only because of the schedule. The shows I tend to like on TV are 30 minutes.
CS: Like what?
Brody: I like “30 Rock.” I enjoy that a lot. I think being on something like that would be a blast.
CS: Is there a movie genre you’re dying to do?
Brody: I love all sorts of genres, and I would love to be a part of any kind of quality movie, but I would love to figure out a way that I could be in a movie that’s kind of big. When I say big, I mean explosions. And, I don’t have to be the guy. I can be the funny guy. It’s so funny that Jon wrote this movie and this is the movie we did together because all we talk about is comic book movies and action stuff. We’ll be forever disappointed that this movie doesn’t really necessitate a teaser poster and teaser trailer. I can speak for him too. We’re just huge fans of that. Even more than the summer movies, I like the poster and the whole event film idea. I would love to be involved in something someday that has a big poster, a big teaser and feels [like] a big event film.
CS: Can you describe “Smiley Face,” and was the Rastafarian hair written in the script?
Brody: I play a pot dealer. I come and do a transaction. As far as the dread locks and tattoos go, that was Gregg Araki. I met with him and he said, “I was thinking this,” and I said, “Sure, I’m game. It’s a day, I don’t care. Put me in whatever. The crazier, the better.” So, I was up for anything.
CS: What has been your Sundance experience?
Brody: I was a little underwhelmed. I had been waiting to go for a long, long time, and I really wanted to go. I wanted to wait until I had something there, so I felt like I could go on the rides. It was okay. It was fun. I had a blast. But, it was a weird dichotomy of the most pure movies being made around the world, and the truest artists and people working with the most creative freedom, mixed with the most corporate environment I’ve ever been in, in my life. I’m for the sponsors. I understand, and all that stuff’s great. But, when I’m getting handed blue Direct TV shots, it’s weird. Everything is a red carpet. And, as much as those swag suites are cool, they’re not that cool. I took pictures with a lot of s**t I didn’t like and I didn’t want, in the first place. The movies were cool and the people are really nice, but it was a scene, in a way, I wasn’t totally expecting.
CS: So, would you go back?
Brody: Yeah, of course. That said, I had a fun time, and I would love to have a reason to go back. I would love to be in a movie that gets in there. But, just as a whole, it just felt like much more of a corporate trade show. And, I knew it wasn’t the arty, independent scene, and that’s fine. I was going for big Hollywood parties. I was. I realized, “I know a lot of people here, but really the only actors here are the three people in the movies, that are in town this day.” I took a lot more pictures than I expected to, at some of these parties. It was a bigger scene in a way I wasn’t expecting. But, I would go back in a second. I still had fun.
CS: Are you apprehensive between projects, while you’re looking for the next thing?
Brody: Yeah. I think everyone is. I can’t even believe how fast it moves now. This is an agent-y observation that I wish I wasn’t so aware of, but I am good friends with my agent and we always talk business. It’s fun. It’s like the stock market. But, I can’t believe how fast it moves now. It really is your last project. Film is so unbelievably trendy. There’s so many good actors, but it’s so much about who was in the last successful independent film. Look at the cast of the new “Batman” that they’re filming vs. the “Batman” 10 years ago when everyone in that had been a star for 10 years, minimum. Now, if you look at everyone in it, nobody’s exactly famous famous, and everyone’s in it, based exclusively on their last successful independent film, which is great and I’m happy, and they’re all great actors, but it works so fast now. Of course, there’s anxiety about the next job, but, man, it is so out of your hands that I really am trying to zen out a little and go, “Look, I can just work with what I’ve got and it’s not up to me, exactly.” It isn’t. There’s a lot good actors. There’s a lot of good people that can do what I do. Hopefully, the cards fall in a nice way.
In the Land of Women hits theatres on April 20.