Adrien Brody (born April 14, 1973) is an American actor and film producer. He received widespread recognition and acclaim after starring in Roman Polanski's The Pianist (2002). Winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 at age 29, he is the youngest actor to do so. Brody is also the only American actor to receive the French César Award.
Taking acting classes as a youth, by age thirteen, he had done an Off-Broadway play and a PBS television film. 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, was left by 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 César Award for his performance. He is also widely known for Brodyquest, his hit single on the internet, and as the spokesman for fashion brand Ermenegildo Zegna.
Brody appeared on Saturday Night Live on May 10, 2003, his first TV work, but he was banned from the show after giving an improvised introduction while wearing faux dreadlocks for Jamaican reggae musical guest Sean Paul (the show's producer, Lorne Michaels, is notorious for hating unscripted performances). However, the unscripted intro remains in reruns of the episode. Other TV appearances include NBC's The Today Show and on MTV's Punk'd after being tricked by Ashton Kutcher.
Brody at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival
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 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 indeed was interested and very willing to play 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. Brody starred with Mark Ruffalo as gentlemen con men in Rian Johnson's The Brothers Bloom, released in May 2009. Also in 2009 was the box office release of 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 Nimród 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.