Adrien Brody was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York (a
neighborhood near Jamaica, Queens) to Elliot Brody (a retired
history professor) and Sylvia Plachy (a photojournalist).
Brody's father is Jewish and his mother, who was born in
Hungary, was raised Catholic, although Brody's maternal
grandmother was also Jewish. Brody attended New York's Fiorello
H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
(famously the inspiration for television's Fame). Brody's
parents enrolled him in acting classes to distance him from the
dangerous kids with whom he associated.
In 1992, Adrien Brody was seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident in which he flew over a car and crashed feet-first into a crosswalk. He spent months recuperating. An avid daredevil, he has broken his nose several times doing off-the-wall stunts.
Adrien Brody hovered on the brink of stardom, receiving praise for his roles in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam and Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line. He finally received widespread recognition when he was cast as the lead in Roman Polanski's The Pianist (2002). The role won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, the youngest actor ever to win the award. To prepare for the role, Brody withdrew for months, gave up his apartment and his car, learned how to play Chopin on the piano, and lost 13 kg (29 lb). The stress of filming also reportedly led him to break up with his then long-term girlfriend.
Throughout his career, Brody has been compared to Al Pacino and Marlon Brando for his unique looks and method acting. He is also widely known for giving Halle Berry a back-breaking kiss after winning his Best Actor Oscar, 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 for musical guest Sean Paul (the show's producer, Lorne Michaels, is infamous for hating unscripted performances). Other TV appearances include NBC's The Today Show and on MTV's Punk'd after being tricked by Ashton Kutcher.
After The Pianist Adrien Brody has played three different roles in three very different movies. He played Noah Percy, a mentally disabled young man in the movie The Village by M. Night Shyamalan, shell-shocked war veteran Jack Starks in The Jacket, and writer Jack Driscoll, in the 2005 King Kong remake by Peter Jackson. He has also appeared in Diet Coke commercials. Some critics have argued Brody's choices of roles do not reflect a sufficient maturity for an Oscar winner. Brody for his part has said he simply chooses roles that "look like fun."
Adrien Brody also appeared in Tori Amos' music video for "A Sorta Fairytale", as man who is only a head and an arm, who meets Amos as a woman who is only a head and a leg. Each needs the other to become whole and this is accomplished with a kiss, like in a fairytale.
On January 5th, 2006, Adrien 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 & Warner Bros. eventually decided to cast Oscar-nominated Australian actor Heath Ledger as The Joker.
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