Winning an Oscar really can change an actor’s career trajectory in a big way, and ten years after pulling one of the biggest surprises in recent Oscar history with his award-winning performance in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, Adrien Brody has veered from one unconventional choice to another, doing roles in smaller genre films like The Jacket and Splice, bigger movies like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, Peter Jackson’s King Kong and Predators and quirky comedies like Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited and The Brothers Bloom.
Other than a small but memorable appearance as Salvador Dali in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (and a much-discussed Super Bowl spot for Gillette), Brody seems to have been relatively out of the limelight in the last couple years, but this week he can be seen in Detachment, a smaller indie drama that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last summer.
The latest drama from Tony Kaye (American History X) stars Brody as Henry Barthes, a substitute teacher who discovers he has a bigger challenge with the new job he’s taken on as he’s surrounded by teachers and a principal who have essentially given up. Meanwhile, his father’s deteriorating health is weighing him down, and things get more complicated when he encounters a teen prostitute (Sami Gayle) who needs his help as much as his students.
It’s an intense look at the public school system handled in a dramatic way that’s both artistic and in-your-face with one of Brody’s finest performances, possibly since his Oscar win, reminding us how Kaye directed Edward Norton to an Oscar nomination. Brody is surrounded by an amazing supporting cast that includes Marcia Gay Harden, Christina Hendricks, William Petersen, Bryan Cranston, Tim Blake Nelson, Lucy Liu, Blythe Danner, James Caan as well as newcomers Sami Gayle and Betty Kaye.
ComingSoon.net spoke to Brody last week and in the video interview below, you can hear him talking about:
* Why he wanted to get involved with the movie both as actor and producer
* Where the project was at when he got involved and how long it took to get made
* Whether he had to do any research for the role
* How the film is so timely and relevant to what is going on in schools right now
* What Tony Kaye brings as a director to help with his performance
* How things have changed since his father was teaching
* How Tony Kaye’s eccentricities contribute to the experience
* How his own tastes govern his unconventional choices in roles
* Whether he might do more comedy following “Midnight in Paris”
(Note: For those always commenting on how fast the interviewer speaks, that may seem even more exaggerated compared to Brody’s calm and thoughtful responses.)
Detachment opens in New York on Friday, March 16, and in L.A. on March 23, but it’s also available On Demand.