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Adrien Brody brings 'flawed' character to 'Predators'

By KJ Matthews, CNN
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Adrien Brody takes on 'Predators'
  • "Predators," fifth film in series, stars Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody
  • He is aware that some may question his casting in science-fiction action film
  • Brody says he's "huge fan of the original," which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Since 1987, there have been four "Predator" franchise films, and many believe the first was the best. Now viewers have yet another contender to compare to the original.

"Predators," the fifth film in the series, was released Friday and stars Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody as a mercenary.

It's a role Brody really wanted, as he is a huge fan of the original film. He is keenly aware, however, that there are many who question the casting of the lean and soulful-eyed actor in a science-fiction action film whose series has boasted much more robust actors including Arnold Schwarzenegger.

CNN recently caught up with the actor to talk about carrying on the "Predator" franchise, stepping into the shoes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and what he believes he brings to his role.

The following is an edited version of the interview.

CNN: When you think of "Predators," you don't think of Adrien Brody right off the bat.

Adrien Brody: You and a lot of other people may not have.

CNN: It was surprising to see you. ... I just didn't picture you in a sci-fi role like this.

Brody: I understand that.

CNN: So what made you want to take on this role?

Brody: Did you see the film? Did it fit? Did it work for you, though?

CNN: Yes.

Brody: You know, I'm very aware that I wouldn't be the first person on the studio's list or on most people's mind to step into the shoes of a reboot of a film like "Predator."

And obviously, I know that there are going to be parallels made to the original and to Arnold, and look, I understand that, and I'm respectful of that. I'm respectful of people that are protective of something that they're very passionate about and love.

But I'm also very aware of what I feel is sometimes an over-reliance, especially in Hollywood, on the physical being and brawn being the sole depiction of strength in a human being. And I think, oftentimes, the leads in films are not fully formed or based in reality.

They're not flawed, complex characters. You know, I'm an actor, and the whole point is to be a chameleon. And I hadn't had an opportunity like this in the past to prove myself.

[His character] Royce isn't a hero. Royce isn't superhuman. He's a man who's lost almost all of his humanity, but he's got that much left. And that's what I want to play, so that was a dream come true

CNN: How many previous "Predator" films had you seen?

Brody: I've seen every film, and I've seen most of them in theaters. But I'm a huge fan of the original.

I think that what is lacking in the subsequent series have been something based in reality. Something based on a character that you can believe in.

CNN: Did you have any demands for the script? Did you talk to the producer and director?

Brody: There were things that I wanted to integrate into this that I felt could even take [the film] further.

There were direct quotes from the original that I asked permission to do, and it made it into the film. I mean, there's a moment between Alice Braga's character and mine that we need something to kind of connect with, and we found this amazing Hemingway reference about hunting man.

Where do you get a movie like this? Where do you have a big action movie where the mercenary killer is able to reference Hemingway and have an impact and not sound corny and not lose the audience? That's amazing.

CNN: What was it like filming in Hawaii? And I know you had to be in really good shape there. There aren't many scenes when you're resting. So your body had to be in tip-top shape.

Brody: Hawaii was amazing! We shot some of it in Texas as well.

The first third of the film was done in Hawaii. We were shooting in an amazing jungle location there. Thousands of acres of what looks like prehistoric rainforest.

It's a very lush environment, and the owners of this property allowed me to stay in a little bungalow in the back of the property. So I lived in a one-room damp little spot.

I never left the location. I would walk to work. I would sometimes leave and go to the gym. I would walk to set, and I'd walk home. I'd sit at home. There was no Internet and no television. I would just pore through military manuals and read Buddhist books and zone in and isolate. It was an amazing experience.

And then I dieted and trained so my whole body chemistry changed. So I was kind of in a heightened state for that duration. It's exhausting, but at the same time, it's very rewarding. At the end of the day, what's beautiful about the film is that it's permanent.