Lean and tall Oscar Winning ("The Pianist") actor Adrien Brody was a hoot to follow in the Peter Jackson epic King Kong as he played an out-of-his-element screenwriter tangling with a giant gorilla. Adrien faces an even gnarlier foe in the upcoming alien baddies sci-fi actioner Predators but this coming Friday, you can catch the excellent actor in the Sci-Fi horror flick Splice playing quirky genetic scientist Clive Nicoli, reluctant to splice human and animal DNA but having to live with the creepy results! And he drives an old Gremlin! How creepy is that?
In a gender-bending move, playing the real "Dr. Frankenstein" in this sci-fi horror piece is Sarah Polley of the classic horror flick Dawn of the Dead as Elsa Kast, Clive's much more brilliantly-warped mad scientist wife. We've gotta give real kudos to gorgeous French newcomer Delphine Chaneac who does an amazing job of playing the freakish yet beautiful being Dren, created by the wacky docs. Dren won our hearts without words as she tries to fit into a world where she can only be called a freak. Her fellow actors also praise her genius in the part.
As we cozy up at the posh W Hotel on Hollywood Blvd, we welcome first Adrien who is GQ classy and very young-looking in grey vest over blue dress shirt with tiny pinstripes and grey suit pants. Since horror thrillers haven't usually been Mr. Brody's staple as an actor, wazzup and special about Splice? (Warning: The film is R-Rated).
TeenHollywood: What was the initial thing that fascinated you about this, was it your role or the concept of the movie which was so interesting?
Adrien: The role is really interesting, Clive deals with a lot of complex issues and dilemmas, but I think it just was one of the most strange and unique scripts that I’ve read ever. Things went wrong on high levels, and mistakes were made and I (I liked) the repercussions of those mistakes and how they affected the characters and their relationship and the rest of the world.
TeenHollywood: You'll soon be on screens in another sci-fi film Predators. Are you a Sci-Fi fan?
Adrien: I like science fiction very much, I like to find characters and the subject matter that is complex, and so to find that within that genre is very exciting. It’s fun, it’s fun to do something that has an element of it that’s scary, on a real level I think because the advancements in technology and scientific research in today’s world are not that far off, and it has an element of truth to it. It’s a family movie in a weird way.
TeenHollywood: Because Clive and Elsa are a young couple thinking about having kids?
Adrien: It’s these two young, successful, ambitious people who, one wants to be a parent, the other isn’t ready for that in their career. They’re kind of thrust into this situation where they become parents, so to speak, and then there’s the dynamic of the mother giving the attention to the infant and the father being deprived, and then it changes as the girl grows to maturity and leans towards her father on many levels. I love that. I loved it. And progressively, it becomes more and more messed up.
TeenHollywood: That's for sure. Dren looks amazing but were you a little concerned that since you had a small budget that the creature wouldn’t look believable?
Adrien: Vincenzo Natali, our director, showed me a tremendous amount of material; renderings of what Dren will look like. This isn’t just a blind choice (where) I read a script and say, ‘Oh okay, that looks great.’ I like his work very much. I liked the people involved, I knew what I was getting into and it was a very creative, collaborative process. And if you look at my resume, most of the films I’ve done are independent movies, so I’m very supportive of that, I’m very understanding of budgetary constraints. And what’s most important is the creative process, I’m working with likeminded individuals, and this was very rewarding and tremendously fun to make.
TeenHollywood: Did you coin the phrase, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ that's on the posters? Do you think your scientist character is that naïve or was he just being funny?
Adrien: (he laughs) I don’t remember, but it’s kind of funny. I think we kept running with it. I guess it's his blindness (to the possibility of things going very wrong). I think we like to be optimistic especially when we’re facing things that have the potential to be very negative or create huge problems for ourselves, so I say, ‘Well, what’s the worst that can happen? Huh? So I’ll go to jail for four years. Oh well.’ (he’s laughing)
TeenHollywood: Can you talk about working with Sarah? We're talking with her later and she's said she had a really good time with you.
Adrien: Sarah is lovely. She’s an amazing, amazing person. Obviously she’s a very talented actor but she’s so intelligent and has this crazy sense of humor, so it’s pretty ideal. She’s very laid back and when we’re working there was an ease. Same with Delphine. She was very open and free and very giving to the demands that were needed to play a role like that. She shaved her head, wore prosthetics and she has permanent burns from the adhesive remover on her arms, and she just kept going forward and wasn’t complaining, she’s a remarkable girl. So I had great people around me. Sarah was so much fun, I have to tell you, plodding away at this path that is destined for destruction with her was really fun.
TeenHollywood: It’s interesting in this scary movie that you guys had time to laugh.
Adrien: With all fairness, all movies need a certain degree of levity, including heavy dramas. It's essential. I think if there’s no laughter on the set you’re in trouble really, because that means you’re not relaxed and no matter how tense a moment is, I have to be free, I have to do what I need to do to be connected, to feel that tension and convert it to something that works for the character.
TeenHollywood: What was the moment where you laughed the hardest to break the tension?
Adrien: Well, there were a lot of really tense moments, obviously when we had to do that sex scene. (Sarah's character catches him hooking up with their "creation"). My character kind of runs outside (after Sarah). I kept saying, ‘Baby, wait, wait!' It was freezing, by the way, I’m running out there half naked and the director is saying ‘Don’t say baby. I don’t like that’ I said, ‘But I would say baby,’ ‘I don’t like baby, I don’t like baby,’ So I’m like, ‘No uh... Come back,’ (we’re laughing). But that’s funny, and when you’re really cold you laugh more.
TeenHollywood: Can you talk about Predators and you character in it?
Adrien: Predators, I’m very excited. My character Royce is a tragic, flawed anti-hero, comic, leading man character that I’ve wanted to play for many years. I had to work very hard to get to that point to convince the studio and convince the powers that be that strength that is often depicted in Hollywood films is often based on a more superficial interpretation. I think real strength comes from within, especially in military minds, and leaders are not necessarily physically imposing but they carry that weight. I saw that (original Predator) movie in theatres when I was 14 or whatever, never in my wildest dreams would I think I would get this kind of Schwarzenegger-esque role. It is a dream come true to me.
Note: Adrien is also playing a character called "Psycho Ed" in the upcoming film High School, the story of a valedictorian enjoying his first high, trying to get the whole student body high to mess up the results of a surprise drug test.
Adrien is on his way down the hall and we cozy up with Sarah Polley who is wearing a very pretty green summer dress with sensible, not stiletto, sandals.
We munch on a tin of orange Tic Tacs with a "Splice" logo on them.
Sarah: I got addicted to them (munch, chomp).
TeenHollywood: (chomp, crunch) How did you get involved with the project?
Sarah: I was sent the script and the last thing I was thinking about or wanted to do was a sci-fi or genre movie and I started to read it and thought it was one of the most interesting scripts I'd ever read in my life. It was so shocking and so compelling. I think the thing about sci-fi and genre movies is when they are good they're incredible. When they're great, they can talk about things in a way that other kinds of films can't. This script, for me, really reached that level.
TeenHollywood: So you think more like an "Alien" film?
Sarah: Yeah. Movies like that or The Fly. When they're good, they're the best but it's hard to get to that point, right? Because I think there can be such a focus on being commercial that you lose the intention to make a really interesting movie at some point.
TeenHollywood: Your character Elsa is driven to create it seems, even to the point of risking horrible consequences. Why do you think that is? She's really the Dr. Frankenstein in this movie.
Sarah: It's a weird brew of a kind of sense of the scientist wanting to go further and see what they can do in terms of what they can discover, in terms of trying to cure disease. But, I think also, with Elsa is a pretty damaged person who is incredibly ambitious and wants to make history and there's also a certain vanity in that I think. I think she is somebody who always wants to take things to their most extreme degree to never stop short.
TeenHollywood: We get the idea that she had a pretty creepy childhood, what she went through with her mother.
Sarah: I think that's an enormous impact on being so ambitious and ruthless and losing her humanity in certain moments. There's an incredibly painful childhood and isolation she's running away from that, I think, feeds a lot of people who are maybe overly ambitious and cutthroat.
TeenHollywood: Was it interesting for you to play a gender reversal? It's usually a male, mad scientist Dr. Frankenstein character. This time it's Adrien, her husband who is being cautious.
Sarah: That's what's really great about the movie. You get to see the girl be the mad scientist and that's really rare. Vincenzo wrote a really, strong, rich, difficult, complex female character and that's something a lot of people don't do, especially in these genre movies.
TeenHollywood: Do you see an irony in the fact that a lot of science fiction is actually warning us in a way? There's a mixed message; 'here is scientific exploration' but there's a warning. 'Don't take it too far'.
Sarah: That's why it's important that it's regulated. Could this happen in terms of the technology that's out there? Maybe in the next ten or twenty years. Most scientists approach their work with a certain ethical code and are very serious about that so it seems unlikely to me. But, in terms of could this actually happen in a vacuum? I suppose that is possible. Private companies are driven by profit. I think that's where it does get into a dangerous territory where ethics are not the first paramount thing we look at to guide what we do.
TeenHollywood: How did you an Adrien work together to create this quirky couple who are so excited about their science?
Sarah: Well, there was a lot of fun between Adrien and I which really helped.
TeenHollywood: He told us about the 'No, baby, wait!' scene.
Sarah: Yeah, well, we made each other laugh for months and that's so helpful when you're working with an actor intimately every day. I think that's what we both loved. We both loved that these characters have this joie de vivre, this intense love of life and this ambition to push the boundaries of everything between themselves and in their work and I think that's what was great about Vincenzo's writing. He wrote a really interesting relationship.
TeenHollywood: How did you learn all the scientific stuff? Did you study it or research the language?
Sarah: We all know examples of actors playing scientists or business people and you can tell they're saying the lines phonetically so there were a few performances I kept in mind when I was researching this one and I made sure that, at least with everything she says, I understand at least a few pages of what she's talking about in detail. Science stuff is difficult if you don't know what you're talking about. I think it was harder for me to act corporate more than anything else. It's something you want to do convincingly but it's something that kind of sicks me out generally, as a person so learning how to be a corporate spokesperson was tough.
TeenHollywood: I was really impressed with Delphine's portrayal of the poor creature you guys create. How was working with her?
Sarah: Where we were at such an advantage with this film was getting to act with a real person who is also a great actor. I think in so many of these films, you're working with green screen and a piece of tape on a grip stand and you're trying to imagine what it will look like later. Certainly there is a lot done with Delphine's image after the fact but we got to act with her face to face and also with Abigail Chu who played her younger.
Delphine is such a strong actor and she's so complex and so moving and can do so much with no words. It's astonishing. So, working with her were some of my favorite scenes in the film because I just wasn't expecting to be able to have such a connection with the creature. It's an amazing thing and then the little puppet when its a baby is the cutest thing in the whole world so it's easy to love.
TeenHollywood: What was your reaction when you first saw a drawing of the creature? Was it shocking or....?
Sarah: I just liked it because it wasn't like anything I'd ever seen which I think was the running theme for me with this film. There are movies you can obviously reference but it really is its own thing and doesn't seem to have that much duplication out there in the world which is kind of exciting and the same went with the image of the creature. I just hadn't seen anything like that before.
TeenHollywood: In your research, did you run across any stories of genetic manipulation gone wrong?
Sarah: Well, that's debatable. There are certainly things that are creepy out there. There are things being done that are completely bizarre, like a mouse with a human ear growing on its back. There's things out there that make you really queasy but it seems like this stuff is under such scrutiny all the time that I think there would be a huge outcry if there was anything out there that was really, really unethical.
TeenHollywood: At one point, the creature mutates and jumps on you. Was that a difficult scene to film?
Sarah: It was awful to do, yeah. It was obviously awful to do. I think it took a couple of days to shoot it. It was gross. It was pretty horrific. I've seen that part of it but I usually just look away.
TeenHollywood: You are directing your next feature (with Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman) so when you look at movies now, do you look at them through your directorial eye and pick up things from the directors you work with?
Sarah: I think the great joy of being an actor is not having to think of all that stuff. I actually love going to set and going like 'I have to learn my lines, think about my character and when everybody is setting stuff up and deciding how the shot is going to go, I'm having a coffee and hanging out with people. What's great about directing is it makes you appreciate the absolute luxury and thrill of being an actor so I try to bring nothing with me of being a director. I try to just be a pawn.