Patrick Goldstein at our sister blog, The Big Picture, was deeply puzzled by the news that Oscar winner Adrien Brody is taking on the lead role in “Predators,” producer Robert Rodriguez’s revisiting of the alien-hunter franchise. Here’s an excerpt:
The same Adrien Brody who won an Oscar as a frail musician in “The Pianist,” the same boho hustler who was in Wes Anderson’s “Darjeeling Limited” and Rian Johnson’s “The Brothers Bloom,” the same guy who played the village idiot in M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village” and an oddball screenwriter in “King Kong” is now set to play much the same character that Arnold Schwarzenegger played in the 1987 “Predator” original.
Does this sound like a miscasting of epic proportions or what? This is no knock on Brody, who is shaping up to be the Jeff Goldblum of his generation, a quirky guy who’s good in oddball parts. But can you imagine him fighting aliens, much less shooting the gun and kissing the girl?
I don’t remember a whole lot of romance in “Predator” but Goldstein has some fun lines and I get his point. You should check out the whole piece (I especially like the comparison to casting Jack Black in “The Manny Ramirez Story“) and he’s got a snarky poll question posted so you can vote whether the actor’s selection is full of promise of merely full of, um, empty hopes.
The casting choice strikes me as a little bit odd, but it doesn’t leave me as aghast as my colleague. For one thing, Brody was fine, I thought, in “King Kong,” as he battled all sorts of beasties. And more importantly this isn’t a remake of “Predator”; this edition, to be directed by Nimród Antal, takes place off-world, so this perception that Brody is following directly in Schwarzenegger’s jungle footprints is a bit off. We’re told that Brody plays a mercenary, but that leaves a lot of room for different sorts of characters — remember Alan Rickman in “Die Hard“? He wasn’t exactly muscle-bound but there was there was plenty of menace in his performance.
There are a good number of art-house veterans who successfully sought a change-up in action and genre movies, such as James McAvoy in “Wanted,” Tobey Maguire in “Spider-Man” James Spader in “Stargate” and Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Last of the Mohicans.” Also, consider that Jeff Goldblum got buff for duty in special-effects films, as did Robert Downey Jr., so perhaps the 34-year-old Brody is simply ready to flex some muscle.
That or maybe we’ll end up filing this DVD next to — gulp — “Godzilla” with fish-out-of-water star Matthew Broderick.
— Geoff Boucher
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Photo: Adrien Brody in “Kong.” Credit” Universal. Photo: “Predator.” Credit: 20th Century Fox