When the original Predator landed on Earth in 1987, audiences responded to the muscle-bound prowess of star Arnold Schwarzenegger by turning the actor into an iconic hero and a model of physical perfection. Today, in the process of reinventing the action model for Predators, writer-producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal sought to capture a reality in a rather fantastic situation. This time, brawn is an even match for the inner workings of a cold-blooded killer’s mind.
In the all-new Predators movie, for the first time, moviegoers will find themselves on the Predators’ home planet, a merciless landscape that broadens the creatures’ mythology by incorporating other clans, even animals, to the mix. Here, a group of planet Earth’s most dangerous killers have been mysteriously transported without warning. This warrior race simply needs the target practice. It is a horrific situation, one that ultimately presents the question: who is the predator and who is the prey? With danger lurking, who would be better to answer its menacing call than the multi-faceted Adrien Brody?
It may appear that he’s defying all media perceptions associated with the label "Oscar-winning actor," but Brody is taking it all in stride. Playing lead role as ex-military man Royce in "Predators," the formally lean and lanky Brody has morphed into a veritable killing machine against the alien creatures. Brody explains what it’s like to reinvent the action hero in the following interview with Jorge Carreon from the L.A. Examiner.
Q: What intrigued you most about tackling this film genre?
A: My goal as an actor is to constantly challenge myself and to find material that is unknown. This is an amazing opportunity for me because there are challenges for an actor, even for someone who wants to find material that is very different. I made a conscious effort in my entire career to find different roles. I loved the original "Predator." I remember seeing that film when I was a kid with my friends and how exciting that was to be in a theater. I love sci-fi horror movies.
Q: The Predators team looks to have gone out of its way to redefine not just the franchise, but also the genre itself. Are having brains the new buff?
A: Well, we’ll see. But, if you open up the newspaper and you look at soldiers, they look like me. They don’t look like massive body builders, although some have incredible physiques. What’s important for me is to bring a truth, a reality to a scenario that is heightened. I think physically you have to fit the bill but you don’t have to necessarily be a body builder to tackle a situation like that. It’s one approach, but it does not necessarily have to be the only approach.
Q: What’s been the most liberating aspect of playing the role of Royce in Predators?
A: It’s a relief in a lot of ways. There are tremendous obstacles these individuals have to overcome. There is less angst when you play a guy who is really defined and his agenda is very clear. Royce is the guy you want to be when you end up in a situation like this. You want a guy who’s decisive and cunning and ruthless. But at the same token, he’s so focused on his own survival.
Q: You’re smiling as you say that. Where does your inner killer reside?
A: I don’t know. I think that’s what makes me good at what I do. Whatever turmoil that fuels me, I’ve fortunately found something creative to channel it. And I don’t think it’s my own. As an actor, you have to be able to tap into, more so than your own struggle, the struggle that other people face and don’t necessarily understand. Then the more you can do to learn about that, and gain empathy, the more realistic the performance. That’s the beauty of it.
Q: This is one of the few situations where you have to wonder whom the audience will want to cheer. The human or the aliens?
A: It’s interesting. I think there’s probably a bit of both. It depends who you identify with too! That’s the beauty of seeing the movie. You don’t have to necessarily identify with the one you expect to identify with. You might secretly wish you were a Predator and want to watch all the carnage that’s inflicted. But I think there’s excitement in all of it.
Brody won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of real-life Holocaust survivor Wladislaw Szpilman in Roman Polanski’s "The Pianist," to date the youngest person garnering the Oscar in that category. Brody’s performance also earned him Best Actor honors from the National Society of Film Critics and the Boston Society of Film Critics, and nominations for a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award® and BAFTA Award. He is also the only non-French citizen to win the Cesar Award, France’s equivalent to the Oscar.
His other feature films include King of the Hill, Ten Benny, Restaurant, The Thin Red Line, Summer of Sam, The Jacket, Liberty Heights, Bread and Roses, King Kong, Hollywoodland, The Darjeeling Limited, The Brothers Bloom and Cadillac Records.
Predators opens today, July 8, in theaters from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.