He was pitiful in “Lost In America.” He was cuddly in “Defending Your Life.” But in “Drive,” Albert Brooks’ latest, he’s fierce. Brooks plays Bernie Rose, a not-too-successful B-movie producer and a much more successful mobster considering going into business with Driver (Ryan Gosling) and his mechanic mentor (Bryan Cranston). The role has heads turning, including Oscar’s.
“I don’t know producers like Bernie,” he says. “I know very rich producers who screw you without even getting out of bed because they have lawyers and they do nasty things, and I’m not going to name names.”
“Drive” offers Brooks the opportunity to play against type to chilling effect. It’s something that, as an actor, he’s been fighting for. “I always wanted to play a different part than the normal parts, and I always felt I could do an interesting villain,” he explains. “I know that I have the ability, but you have to convince a movie studio to take out the Skarsgard and put you in. It’s hard to do that.”
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But apparently “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn didn’t need very much convincing. “He’s saying that I was the person he always wanted. I don’t believe him,” Brooks says. “He told me that when he was a youngster he saw ‘Lost In America’ in the theater and he was scared when I yelled at my wife. So I thought that was funny.”
Don’t buy bad spaghetti
Albert Brooks is not a fan of DVD extras — and that’s putting it mildly. “These DVDs become like garbage dumps,” the veteran writer, director and actor says. “Other products don’t do this. When I buy spaghetti, I get the pound of spaghetti. I don’t get the extra half a pound where it curled up and didn’t look good, you know? If it was good enough to show you, I would’ve put it in the movie.”