Neurologist

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Adrien Brody Talks About ‘Splice’

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley star as genetic engineers who combine the DNA of humans and animals to create a brand new organism in the sci-fi thriller, Splice. Although they’re given explicit directions not to work with human DNA, Elsa convinces Clive they’re so close to creating an organism that will revolutionize science, they must secretly continue with their work. But the human/animal hybrid they create – a completely unique and strangely beautiful creature they name Dren – grows and behaves in a way they couldn’t have imagined and definitely didn’t plan for.

Co-written and directed by Vincenzo Natali, Splice created a stir when it premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Joel Silver and Warner Bros snatched it up for distribution, and when it hits theaters on June 4th, Splice is sure to provoke heated conversations.

Decisions Made and Consequences to Pay

Although Elsa drives the couple into creating the hybrid, Clive is right there by her side. “The character that Sarah plays is a tremendous force,” said Brody at the LA press day for the Warner Bros Pictures film. “Look, there is a shared ambition that they’re both very highly intelligent, they’re both very successful in their field, and she corrupts his sense of morality. There are all these things that he’s desperately trying to consider, and I think I tried to play Clive as someone who tries to play by the book but who falls into temptation. I think that’s what makes it interesting. You play a scientist who just has the intelligence, has the capability to do something tremendous, and you have to understand that all of this is being taken from them. So their aspirations and what they’ve visualized as tremendous success and groundbreaking in their field is being stripped of them. It’s a desperate moment. There’s a bit of coercion on her part, but he follows through and this is the problem.”

Brody added, “This is what we deal with in life. You have to be accountable, and also there are repercussions. In something that is as relevant as genetic research or any kind of scientific advance, you have to be very careful. That’s why there are all these debates about these matters because even with GM Foods, even if the goal is noble, you’re still dealing with the possibility of changing the landscape on this planet forever. There are already many problems with produce that have been kind of corrupted from genetically modified things, modified soy. And it kind of blows over into other areas and then it just spreads. That’s only one level of it, so technology and scientific research…look, it’s essential, right? It’s essential that we progress and explore but at the same time, there are many, many considerations. I think that’s what makes this so exciting because Splice isn’t far off from what reality could be or may be.”

So does Brody believe advancements in bioengineering will actually be mishandled the way they are mishandled in Splice? “Well, there is the potential,” replied Brody. “Look, even with nuclear technology. This was supposedly designed to create something that is so devastating and intimidating that it couldn’t possibly be used. Here we are in a world, but the design of that wasn’t strictly for destructive purposes. It was to prevent it, and that doesn’t necessarily work. If things like that can be created, that level of responsibility is beyond anything we could comprehend. We’ve witnessed the repercussions of that.”

Adrien Brody on His Career

Brody was the youngest actor to win the Best Actor Oscar (he took home the golden statuette for his starring role in The Pianist), and he’s best known for tackling roles in dramatic films – in particular in indie productions. Being an Oscar winner means people’s expectations have been raised, but Brody doesn’t feel any extra pressure when he’s selecting roles to take on.

“The only pressure I feel is when people wonder why I make certain choices and they ask me, ‘Why did you make that choice?’ I don’t really feel pressure in that,” said Brody. “It’s a legitimate question. I’m not saying that it isn’t. For many years I’ve worked very hard at proving something to myself, and I’m very disciplined in my choices and I have not lost that discipline. What I’ve gained is the ability to be more playful with my work and my choices, which I have less to prove to myself. I can’t live up to everyone’s expectations all the time and that’s not my responsibility. I don’t feel that way. I have to live up to my own and making movies, when I did King Kong and it was very exciting because I wanted to work with Peter [Jackson] and I wanted to do something. King Kong is this iconic film and very different, obviously, from anything that I had done. I was amazed at how children and young people loved Jack Black. They loved him. Everywhere he went, they adored him, really adored him. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s such a wonderful thing.’ And none of those kids recognized me, none of them. It was a realization that I had a whole audience that doesn’t know my work.”

“I think what I love about film is that you have this wonderful connection and so many people can see the hard work that you’ve put into something, and you can actually have this connection,” explained Adrien Brody. “It’s a wonderful experience to be in a theater. I feel it, we all feel it. When you are moved by something and a performance and you’re taken down that road, it’s what we hope to see in the theater and it’s what an actor really strives for. My point is that doing certain films, after that, kids started knowing me and I’d go to the bank and there’d be kids there like, ‘You’re the guy from King Kong,’ and ‘awesome’ and high-fiving me. Then when I’m hanging out with Tony Hawk and going around, I’m not the strange guy that’s hanging out with Tony Hawk. I’m the guy from this movie or that, and I love that.”

“That’s one element to it, but my choices have been to constantly try and find things that are different, that challenge me, that are unusual and to take some risk with it. I thought this was such a unique film and such a complex genre movie, I loved horror movies when I was a teenager. I loved them. I saw every Nightmare on Elm Street in theaters. I saw Predator in theaters when it came out and was in awe. So for me to have an opportunity to go in there and bring what I do to that and try and bring the level of complexity to the role… In Predators, for instance, to make Royce a kind of tragic, flawed antihero character within this setting, and also put on a certain degree of muscle mass and kind of do this, that’s very exciting to me. That’s a really exciting process. So on one level, I can see how there’s like, ‘How can you do that?’ Show me, give me access to a movie that’s comparable, a dramatic film that’s comparable to The Pianist and I’d love to do it. But if I’m not finding that, I have to also find new things and experiment with that. And I love that process.”

Brody is trying to mix things ups, and he doesn’t automatically rule out scripts just because they’re sequels, prequels, or of a genre you don’t normally associate with the 37 year old actor. “Well, I do many independent films. If you look at my resume, they’re still the majority and this, by the way, is an independent movie,” offered Brody. “This is a wonderful situation where you do a film with a great director who’s very passionate about it who has a real point of view, who’s worked on it for 10 years. You make it the best you can with limited resources and then it goes to a film festival and then it gets picked up by something like Joel Silver and Warner Brothers and sees the light of day and gets a marketing budget. That’s remarkable and that’s really rare, almost unheard of in this economy and the way this business is. So if you look at it, this is just another kind of independent movie but it’s kind of given its moment, which is really amazing.”

“The problem is to find roles within these films that speak to you. Unfortunately, most of them don’t. They don’t and most of them aren’t interested in me because they don’t care if… […]The whole vision of the success of the film is based on kind of a formula and if I don’t fit in that formula, it’s very difficult to persuade people to alter it because it’s like a business model. It’s counterintuitive to creating art, so you have to find something where you’re allowed to have some artistic freedom and the character can have some depth but also fit in that.”

“I’m grateful for Fox, Robert Rodriguez, Nimrod Antal – who directed Predators – to give me that opportunity. I campaigned very hard. They were not believers at first. I told them, ‘I will deliver and I’ll prove myself.’ That’ll be determined to some degree by how the film does or by what the response is to my work. But I approached it with the same intensity that I would approach anything like The Pianist. I locked myself in the forest and I changed my whole diet. I didn’t do a lot of things. I didn’t eat very much, I handled it with a great deal of seriousness and I did a lot of military training and all that stuff.”

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June 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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