Adrien Brody Reflects on 'Riding the Chaos'

From HBO’s Winning Time to his next Wes Anderson role, Adrien Brody is generating as much unique buzz these days as an ’80s chainsaw.

Real Quick

Your real basketball team?

I’m a New Yorker. But I really do like the Lakers as well.

Funniest actor you’ve shared a scene with?

Owen Wilson.

I’d starve before eating this.

Human.

Painting you’d like to own?

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.

Men's Journal: Winning Time on HBO, the quirky comedy See How They Run, the Marilyn Monroe drama Blonde... Was 2022 as nonstop as it looked?

Adrien Brody: I love juggling. And when it rains it pours. You learn this as an actor—mustering up the discipline to ride the chaos and busy times between those droughts.

Were there stunt doubles for that classic fight scene in See How They Run? The one with [spoiler alert] the gigantic cake.

That was really us. Slipping and sliding on a marble floor in dress shoes—with cake. It was interesting. And painful.

Your portrayal of Arthur Miller in Blonde has a real vulnerability. How did you approach playing America’s most famous playwright?

By benefiting from a great script and director Andrew Dominik’s instincts—but also honoring a real person who’s far more complex than what may be on a page. I fought for retaining some of those sensitivities.

What comes more naturally to you, comedy or drama?

Hard to say—at least without limiting people’s perception of what you’re capable of doing. Wes Anderson was the first one to really get me in a lighter film that people actually saw. So comedy is definitely in the wheelhouse.

Asteroid City will be your sixth Wes Anderson film. What do you love about working with him?

The shorthand. At this point, I know what Wes gravitates to—and I also know what I may want to try in his films.

What was your favorite aspect of L.A. Lakers coach Pat Riley’s character in Winning Time?

Playing him was a reminder of our preconceptions about iconic figures—about their imagined prowess or innate confidence from the get-go, right? But that’s not necessarily true. That’s what was so fascinating in portraying Riley. The indecision and insecurities he had to overcome to become this legendary coach.

In one episode, you carve up your home office with a chainsaw. As fun as it looks?

You’d be surprised how therapeutic it can be to take a chainsaw to a building in character. The one we used prop from the ’80s. Trying stroke started on a roof in the blazing heat was a hell of a workout.

Great TV and films are becoming less distinguishable for viewers. Is that good or bad?

Both. It’s a blessing that there are more opportunities for creative people and content for audiences. The dilemma is that it has cannibalized the independent film business. That’s a loss for everyone.

What’s something on your to-do list?

I’d really like to do a Western at some point. There are those elements in some of my own written works, like Clean. That was about a man being pushed by oppressive forces and having to stand up for what’s right. I’d like to do a love story too. Something with depth and sensitivity. I don’t think I’ve seen one of those that’s moved me in a while.

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