Adrien Brody (born April 14, 1973) is an American actor and producer. He received widespread recognition and acclaim after starring in Roman Polanski‘s The Pianist (2002), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor at age 29, making him the youngest actor to win in that category. Brody is also the only male American actor to receive the Csar Award for Best Actor.
He is a frequent collaborator of Wes Anderson‘s and has starred in three of Anderson’s films, those being The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)all of which were major successes.
Brody was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York, the son of Sylvia Plachy, a photographer, and Elliot Brody, a retired history professor and painter. Brody’s father is of Polish Jewish descent; Brody’s motherwho was raised as a Catholicwas born in Budapest, Hungary, the daughter of a Catholic Hungarian aristocrat father and a Czech Jewish mother. Brody was raised “without a strong connection” to Judaism or Catholicism.
As a child, Brody performed magic shows at children’s birthday parties as “The Amazing Adrien”. He attended the I.S. 145 Joseph Pulitzer Middle School and New York’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. His parents enrolled him in acting classes to distance him from the dangerous children with whom he associated. He attended summer camp at Long Lake Camp for the Arts in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Brody attended Stony Brook University before transferring to Queens College for a semester.
Taking acting classes as a child, by age thirteen he appeared in an Off-Broadway play and a PBS television film. After appearing in Bullet in 1996 with Tupac Shakur and Mickey Rourke, Brody hovered on the brink of stardom, receiving an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his role in the 1998 film Restaurant and later praise for his roles in Spike Lee‘s Summer of Sam and Terrence Malick‘s The Thin Red Line. He received widespread recognition when he was cast as the lead in Roman Polanski‘s The Pianist (2002). To prepare for the role, Brody withdrew for months, gave up his apartment and his car, broke up with his then-girlfriend, learned how to play Chopin on the piano, and lost 29 lbs (13 kg). The role won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, making him, at 29, the youngest actor ever to win the award, and to date the only winner under the age of 30. He also won a Csar Award for his performance.
Brody appeared on Saturday Night Live on May 10, 2003, his first TV work, controversially giving an improvised introduction while wearing faux dreadlocks for Jamaican reggae musical guest Sean Paul. Other TV appearances include NBC’s The Today Show and on MTV’s Punk’d after being tricked by Ashton Kutcher.
After The Pianist Brody appeared in four very different films. In Dummy (released in 2003, but originally shot in 2000, just prior to his work in The Pianist) he portrayed Steven Schoichet, a socially awkward aspiring ventriloquist in pursuit of a love interest (his employment counsellor). He learned ventriloquism and puppetry for the role (under the tutelage of actor/ventriloquist Alan Semok) convincingly enough to perform all of the voice stunts and puppet manipulation live on set in real time, with no subsequent post dubbing. He played Noah Percy, a mentally disabled young man, in the film The Village, by M. Night Shyamalan, shell-shocked war veteran Jack Starks in The Jacket, writer Jack Driscoll in the 2005 King Kong remake, and father-to-be Peter Whitman in The Darjeeling Limited by Wes Anderson. King Kong was both a critical and box office success; it grossed $550 million worldwide and is Brody’s most successful film to date in monetary terms. Additionally, Brody played a detective in Hollywoodland. He has also appeared in Diet Coke and Schweppes commercials as well as Tori Amos‘ music video for “A Sorta Fairytale“.
On January 5, 2006, Brody confirmed speculation that he was interested in playing the role of The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. However, Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. decided instead to cast Heath Ledger in the role. He was also in talks with Paramount to play Spock in J. J. Abrams Star Trek XI, but it ultimately went to Zachary Quinto. In 2009, he starred in Splice, a science fiction film written and directed by Vincenzo Natali. Originally a Sundance film, Splice was adopted by Dark Castle Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros. Most recently, he played the star role of Royce in Predators (a sequel to the original Predator), directed by Nimrd Antal and produced by Robert Rodriguez.
In 2011, Brody starred in a Stella Artois beer ad called “Crying Jean” that premiered right after half-time of the Super Bowl XLV as part of Stella’s “She Is a Thing of Beauty campaign. He appeared in Woody Allen‘s 2011 Academy Award-winning comedy Midnight in Paris as Salvador Dal. On January 16, 2012, Brody made his debut as a runway model for Prada Men Fall/Winter 2012 show.
In 2014, Brody collaborated again with Wes Anderson in the Academy Award-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel, where he played Dmitri. The following year, he starred as Tiberius in the Chinese film Dragon Blade, which grossed $54.8 million in its opening week in China.
In 2017, it was announced he would join the cast of the fourth season of the BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders.
On August 4, 2017, he received the Leopard Club Award at the Locarno Festival. The Leopard Club Award pays homage to a major film personality whose work has made a lasting impact on the collective imagination.
In 1992, Brody was seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident in which he flew over a car and crashed head-first into a crosswalk. He spent months recuperating. He has broken his nose three times doing stunts; the most recent was during the filming of Summer of Sam.
Brody began dating Spanish actress Elsa Pataky in 2006. For Pataky’s 31st birthday in July 2007, Brody purchased her a 19th-century farm in Central New York state that was remodeled to look like a castle. Brody and Pataky were featured at their New York home in a 35-page spread for HELLO! magazine in October 2008. The pair broke up in 2009. Brody has been dating model Lara Lieto since 2013.
In 2010, Brody sued the Giallo filmmakers, alleging that they failed to pay his full salary.
|1988||Home at Last||Billy||Television film|
|1988||Annie McGuire||Lenny McGuire||Episode: “Annie and the Brooklyn Bridge”|
|1994||Rebel Highway||Skinny||Episode: “Jailbreakers“|
|1996||Bullet Hearts||Chuckie Bragg||Pilot|
|1999||Split Screen||Harry||Episode: “Waiting for Star Wars”|
|2003||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host)||Episode: “Adrien Brody/Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder”|
|2014||Houdini||Harry Houdini||2 episodes
NominatedPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
NominatedScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
|2015||Breakthrough||Narrator||Episode: “Decoding the Brain”|
|2005||Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie||Jack Driscoll|
|2006||Fade to Red||Tori’s lover|