EXCLUSIVE: Adrien Brody Talks Wrecked
This intense thriller from director Michael Greenspan finds a man trapped inside a crashed car, in theaters this Friday
Adrien Brody stars in the new thriller Wrecked, which is in select theaters this Friday and now available on VOD. Wrecked is a mesmerizing and economic thriller about a man trapped in the passenger's side of a crashed car, which has tumbled into the desolate woods. After days alone, the man slowly pulls himself out of the wreckage and befriends a dog while having mass hallucinations. It's a drama about perception, as we grow to learn more about who this man is, and who he isn't.
Adrien Brody turns in a mesmerizing and truthful performance that makes Wrecked a must-see. One minute you will hate him, the next, you will feel empathy for his plight as a human being. We recently caught up with the Oscar-winning actor to find out more about this taught, tight 90-minute ride from director Michael Greenspan.
Here is our conversation.
I saw this movie knowing absolutely nothing about it. For about 80 minutes of the film's 90-minute runtime, I did not like your character as a person, at all. Through these various little hints, we're given insight into this guy's life, and the audience is inclined to not be on his side throughout his struggles. I wouldn't say we're given a twist ending, but the last ten minutes clearly redefine what this character is about, completely. And it's an interesting slight of hand I don't think I've ever seen utilized onscreen before. It really makes you do a three-sixty as an audience member. Did you come into this script not knowing anything about your character, and once you got to the end, did your views on him change as well?
Adrien Brody: That is a really interesting question. It's many moons ago that I read the first draft of this script. I have done quite a bit of work since. I willl tell you what did speak to me about this character, and what is a universal concept that I like to explore. We are all victims of formulaic views of ourselves and each other based on what we believe to be the truth. Often times, we make assumptions, and we are mistaken. I think in some cases it works to our benefit. In this character's case, you may not have liked him, but it empowered him. His evolution and his self discovery gave him a strength he wouldn't have possessed had he remembered who he was and the limitations he possessed as an individual. And his own strength and ability to overcome things would have been impaired by his own psychological psyche out. His own experiences in real life. He would have felt like, "Oh, I am a certain way. I must preserver." I thought that was such a fascinating journey to explore as a character, and how it speaks on a much greater level to perception. And how that affects each and every one of us in society, and how we interact with one another.
The main relationship in this movie is set up between your character and a dog. I didn't feel he had earned the right to earn this dog's respect. But like you said, that was my interpretation of it from the information I perceived to be true.
Adrien Brody: Its complicated. I had mixed feelings abut what the dog represented, who the dog was, and if the dog was even real. In my own discovery of the character. As I am playing it, I have to believe that these experiences are real. It may have been something else. It may have represented something else in him. Let us say that the dog existed. Animals make those choices, not us. Sometimes dogs stay with owners that are not right for them. Wouldn't you agree? I think there was a connection. There were two creatures, two souls, who had nothing else but the elements and the obstacles. They took time to get to know each other. I like the evolution of that. I like that it wasn't all on the nose. When it does progress, I wish there was more. There was anther version of the script where the dog lives. And there were other elements at play that I thought were really great when I first read the script. But things changed.
You bring up an interesting point. I didn't even consider that the dog wasn't real. Even though there were many instances where this guy is having hallucinations.
Adrien Brody: That is what lingered with me. I felt like the dog may not be there. I toyed with the idea that none of it was real. (Laughs) Not to get it too far out for people's heads. But I felt he had never made the journey out. This is all his visioning of what the journey will become. That is a little too conceptual.
There are some really isolating moments that have to take you back as an actor. I don't notice the camera moving too much in some of these scenes. Were you often times left alone in the woods with just you and the camera? Or did you always have at least a few crewmembers nearby?
Adrien Brody: This crew was remarkably generous and supportive of that process, of giving me as much space as they could. I think the beauty of the experience itself was not only that we had great people who pitched in and understood the need for a certain degree of isolation for this character to work, but they also helped that process. We shot in the wilderness. We were in a very remote area in the hills. We were on Vancouver Island. We cut a path through a place no one had been too. We dropped a car in by helicopter. Partially, the terrain lent itself to that environment as well. So we had a limited crew. Due to the budget. The team was amazing. All of us. Everyone really made this happen. We were all carrying equipment up ravines. I would isolate myself when we weren't working as well. I had contacts in. I had splints. I couldn't really move too much. I had to wait it out. But most of the time I was working. But there was room for space to exist in the forest. That helped create a level of authenticity.
Speaking of isolation, there is one scene that really struck me. Because I have had this conversation before. If you were in a horrible car crash, and the car was upside down, and the radio is on, and you can't reach it...What song do you hope is playing? The film addresses that odd question. And here, it's Tiny Tim's 'Tiptoe Through the Tulips'. What, to you, is the meaning of that song for your character, and how much would that suck to be the last song you hear while on Earth?
Adrien Brody: (Laughs) At that point, the radio has a very significant place in this storytelling. It gives us a bit of exposition. I think the choice of that song is to create a level of irony and madness. Here is this very light whimsical melody in a diabolical situation. There is a certain degree of comedy and irony in that. What starts to be a moment of levity turns into something that is inescapable. He couldn't change the channel. And he couldn't cope with his predicament. I thought it was an interesting touch. It is a flavor. It is adding a spice to a moment. I thought that was a nice touch.
When Christopher Dodd sat down to write this screenplay, he claims he didn't know the character or what his journey would be. He wrote the story as a stream of consciousness experiment, letting his mind take him to the end of this man's journey. Did you approach the material in the same way?
Adrien Brody: I always think, you can't fully explore the moment in your mind. Or in a rehearsal process. That doesn't do you any good. You have to let things play out, and go for the truth. Push for more. But if you only get to a certain place, truthfully, then you can't expect to go further. In the next take, maybe you will go further. You will do certain things to get yourself to go to a different place. I think it's different for an actor and the writer of a screenplay. It's an interesting approach to not know where you are going, and to sit down and just start writing. That is one thing. But you have to have a game plan. You do, as an actor, as well. What was attractive to me about this character is that his backstory was far less relevant, because so much of it was unknown and conjured up in his imagination. That is liberating. Because you have a responsibility to do a lot of research when you take on certain roles. In this case, I could be focused. It was not about the present, and the reality of being in a moment. Knowing how you might handle a certain situation.
You made this a couple of years ago. Were you surprised that when you came back to this material, that it was as good as it is onscreen? I think this movie is going to surprise a lot of people.
Adrien Brody: I really liked the script and the journey. I did have high expectations for it. I thought it was a really interesting process. I got to spend time living in the woods, experiencing things that were very frightening and uncomfortable. I think those things are important to experience, and remind yourself of your fortune, that you are not trapped in a predicament like that. Most movies have...Most, not all, but often I have found the journey has given me a good understanding of the depth I could go to. It affects me very deeply. I like the film, I think it has a lot of those elements. I think it captures a lot of what I was feeling, there, on that day.