Adrien Brody is a painter now, too. Last fall the Oscar-winning actor, now 42, unveiled “Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Handguns,” a series that played at a show in Miami. It featured such images like a French fries container filled with cigarettes and teddy bears partaking in a gang shooting.
“Basically it references how commonplace violent imagery is and how it’s essentially on par with fast food,” Brody tells us.
He’s been painting a lot these days, but he’s also doing a lot of smaller, as opposed to bigger, films. The new Australian horror “Backtrack” is one of these, but it’s not a standard chiller. In it, he plays a psychoanalyst being haunted by ghosts, who plague him because of a traumatic event in his past that he’s deeply suppressed. It makes no bones about exploring grief and guilt and self-deception — all things Brody is excited to talk about.
“I like the complexity of being an analyst and it relating to how the way we perceive the world is based on our perception and our consciousness,” Brody explains.
Speaking to Brody you quickly get the sense that he’s not only picky about the roles he chooses, but that they have to activate his brain in deep and unique ways. He’s known for deep immersion in roles, and he says he spent much of the “Backtrack” shoot ignoring the beautiful summer Sydney weather to stay in his character’s gloomy mindset.
“I commit when I embark on a role, especially if it requires a degree of sensitivity,” he says. Those are the roles I’m usually attracted to. You have to go there, you know?” The more he goes “there,” he says, the less social with the cast and crew he becomes. “There are very few roles I’ve taken where I can allow myself to not be in a zone, so to speak. I’m honoring the responsibility I have. I tend to isolate a bit.”
Still, few roles are like the one that scored him the Academy Award in 2002. “Nothing can compete with ‘The Pianist,’” he says. “That’s a level that required a total immersion.”