Adrien Brody is stepping out of the cold, dark woods and into something warmer — a jacket.
The Oscar-winning actor, currently atop the box office in "The Village" (see " 'Bourne Supremacy' No Match For 'The Village' At Box Office"), is following up the M. Night Shyamalan film with another mystery thriller, "The Jacket."
"It's a story about a soldier who survives the Gulf War, but is injured and has a memory problem and he's implicated in a murder," Brody explained. "He's sentenced to a mental institution and experiences some pretty intense treatment, so to speak, and kind of has out-of-body experiences. It's a very complicated story, but along the way, there's a love story in there with Keira Knightley. I think it was a fantastic role for me." The film is slated for release next year.
That role, only Brody's third since his breakthrough in 2002's "The Pianist," was originally meant for Colin Farrell, and later Mark Wahlberg, but both actors dropped out as it morphed into more of an indie-spirited project. Shot earlier this year in Scotland, "The Jacket" is due in February.
After "The Jacket," Brody will hit the big screen in another big-budget movie, starring alongside Naomi Watts and Jack Black in Peter Jackson's "King Kong."
Although it's a remake of the 1933 classic and will again be set in the 1930s, Brody said to expect something new. "Stylistically, [the original] was really fantastic, but there's a lot to be improved upon," he said. "I think the characters will change to some degree and there's a lot of room for change on a movie like that" (see "Naomi Watts To Play King Kong's Crush After 'The Ring 2' ").
As for the success of "The Village," Brody believes the storyline resonates with moviegoers because it deals with problems prevalent today, even though it's set in 1897.
"Part of what attracted me to 'The Village' was the fact that it had a lot of parallels to contemporary issues like the way fear controls us and the way governments, or the governing body of a village or town or a nation, controls us through fear," Brody said. "They might even mean well by it, but we are conditioned to be afraid of things — fear of the unknown, fear of terrorism — and it's unfortunate. I was attracted to those parallels, I was attracted to a film that on one level will make a large audience excited and feel the ride of a thriller, but there is a little deeper kind of commentary about what's going on in today's world, even though it's taking place in another time."
Another secret to the film's success is, of course, Shyamalan's ability to keep his plot twists a surprise, which required extreme cooperation from the cast.
"Night swore me to secrecy," Brody said. "I think he even hesitated at me seeing the script if I wasn't going to do the movie. And Night made me promise to not show the script to anyone, including my representatives. My agents didn't even see the script, none of my friends, my family — no one's seen it."
The hardest part for Brody was that Shyamalan asked him to be vague in talking with press about his character.
"It's difficult because I'm really about the work, and I want to talk about the process and I want to talk about all the interesting people that I've met along the way [researching the role] and how it helped shape me," he said. "I don't like to answer questions in a vague way; I like to respond honestly. But, in general, it's kind of fun to keep a secret. I think people know too much about the movie before they go into it, whether it's the advertising or they're reading too many stories about it, and I think that sabotages a thriller."
For more from Brody and his "Village" co-stars, check out "M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Village' — An Exclusive First Look."
Check out everything we've got on "The Village."
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