Ahead of the release of Some Girl(s), the latest film from writer Neil LaBute, we had a chat with the film’s star Adam Brody and talked about a little bit of everything, including working with Neil LaBute, playing despicable characters, and I couldn’t let him get away without talking about him being this close to playing the Flash in a proposed Justice League film some years back.
He was a delightful guy. Check out the interview below.
Some Girl(s) opens in UK and US cinemas June 28th and our review will be up on the site later today.
HeyUGuys: Had you seen the play before you read the script?
Adam Brody: I had not seen the play, but I had read the play before I read the script. In fact there wasn’t a total finalized script until right before we shot.
I had to watch the film twice before to get an informed opinion about your character because I couldn’t tell if he was really endearing or arrogant.
Well, that’s some of the fun of it ideally you know, trying to act out his motives.
Yes, because he says some really hurtful things to these ladies and you strike a nice balance there. So how did you figure out the character, and what informed your performance?
Well you know I have my own ideas about a) what I think about him as a human being or as a man and b) what subtext and sort of what he’s deluding himself and not saying but by and large I took – you know I think he’s very self-delusional but you know he spends this whole movie sort of trying to explain himself. I think that, you know he does it – this is a movie and a play – so he does it in person with his women. Although I think that’s rare, I think that we do it – he could have easily had these conversations in his head. Therefore, to me he’s trying to justify himself this whole movie, so I just kind of took what he said at face value. I do believe in those moments he believes what he’s saying even those he’s completely deluding himself. I think he does have a pretty strong conviction that he is an innocent bystander in this as well. So I just kind of tried to, as he does, argue his case and leave my own personal views out of it.
I have my own theories as to why Neil LaBute left your character nameless but I was wondering if you had any theories of your own.
Man is nameless and the women all have gender-neutral names. To me that suggests that this isn’t necessarily a man versus woman, male versus female thing but it works just as much if you reverse the sexes. Or if it’s men to men or women to women, and the sex issue isn’t specific to any gender – that’s one thing I got out of it. In terms of naming a man, to me, although I probably don’t think he meant this, I sort of take it this way by the end: there is a scene that’s not in the play and in the final scene of the film he’s on the plane, and he’s calling his fiancée and looking at this stewardess. I sort of took it as – part of the reveal to me isn’t only about his motives that happened in the last scene, but the other reveal to me is that this will happen forever. This is a cycle that will never – this guy almost to an inhuman way, almost to a way where I feel like by the end of this movie this guy is a metaphor for narcissism and selfishness, and not being culpable. He’s literally, in a literary way, 100 percent incapable of EVER having true empathy, not a shred of it. It’s not to take away from it, but I feel like by the end of the reveal he’s almost more of a literary construct. Even though he’s recognizable, those emotions in all of us, he is who he is so thoroughly that he’s almost more a math equation or, I liken him a little bit to Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He (Bateman) is a metaphor for greed more than he’s necessarily flesh and blood, and even though Man is human and I play him as human and he’s had real relationships, but like I said the fact that this is a character who by the end, to me, it’s very obvious that this could happen 70 more times in a row and he still would not learn a single thing, and he wouldn’t have a shred of empathy, and he wouldn’t own up to a shred of responsibility. He’s incapable of it, almost to an inhuman degree, and I think it’s very interesting. That’s sort of my take, but I don’t know if he meant it that way or not.
The supporting cast in this film is tremendous. Each vignette is so different. Do you have a favorite or any that stand out to you?
Obviously it goes without saying that it was a thrill to work with every one of these actresses, and all the scenes are so well-written to get to kind of dance with all of them, or play tennis or whatever metaphor you’d like. It was amazing. Gosh, you know I like them all for different reasons. I think the Zoe (Kazan) one, who plays Reggie is really interesting because it wasn’t in the play initially and it was never performed on stage before. He (LaBute) just wrote it into the booklet of the play as an additional scene he always had in his head and never put it to paper. I think that was incredibly interesting because it somehow – it’s the darkest. At the same time, it also has a lot of sexuality in it as well. So, to sort of play with those two seemingly contrasting ideas, I just think that one’s really interesting to me. But, all of them are for different reasons. I like that that one goes there. Yet, it doesn’t think it, but it gives it this extra weight to the whole proceeding.
Yeah, it’s almost uncomfortable to watch in a way and I think that says a lot about Zoe Kazan’s performance.
It does, I think she made so many great choices to play it the way she did, and play her a little bit girlish still – a little girlish and retain some childlike behavior which was really interesting and it gave it a good layer.
Could you talk a little bit about stepping into the world of Neil LaBute. Was it hard for you to grasp the material or pretty simple?
I love it, I love his work. It’s hard in that they’re emotional sort of – to me the things that are easy are that he’s such an eloquent writer who writes natural but there’s a great rhythm to it as well. It’s not meandering, and yet it’s natural. So the scenes, as an actor, are just fun to say. Every single thing he does has some great black humor to it, which I am such a fan of. So, that stuff is really easy and just fun and a joy. I think some of the hard stuff is, in a way, he’s one of the darkest writers. He’s not dealing in fantasy or melodrama, he’s doing it with the everyday ugliness and cruelty and pettiness and narcissism – you know, it’s magnified – but I think there’s a little bit of it in everybody. These are extreme cases, but they’re relatable cases nonetheless. I think that’s what makes some of it so ugly, is that is sort of relatable, a lot of his work. There’s not that many people that want to shine a light on that part of ourselves. So, after a while it can be kind of a hard place to live in, just because it’s awfully cruel. To me, it’s enlivened by the fact that it’s also funny.
You’ve been active in the indie film community for quite some time now. Do you prefer smaller films over expensive studio films?
I mean, there are thing I prefer about it and they both have their pros and cons. I’m a fan of all genres. That said, in all genres and all sizes of movies, I like summer tentpoles and ya know, I like really intimate, small independent movies. I would say that in the best case scenario your really great independent is going to have more psychological complexity than a big studio movie. But, in general, I think it’s a misnomer that indie means it’s deep and studio means it’s shallow. There are plenty of indie movies that are indie because they’re cheap, not because they’re saying something so provocative or complex. So, I sort of just want to be part of any interesting filmmaking on any budget, and they both have their perks. It’s nice to do it in comfort as well and be well compensated, but at the same time it’s nice to have a lot of freedom and again, do interesting and complex stuff in a collaborative environment. I don’t know… If I pick my ten favorite movies every year, would the majority of them be indies? I don’t know. I suspect, but I’m not sure. Probably.
I have to ask you. The comic book nerd in me feels compelled to ask you – with all of this talk about a Justice League movie, would you still consider playing the Flash if the opportunity presented itself?
(laughs) Listen, I’m in a position where I don’t have the luxury of choosing what $300 million movies to do and not do. If a budget like that came my way, at this point in my career, I would do it regardless. But, I will say that – and by the way I don’t think it would if only because I don’t think they’d want it to smell in any way, shape or form like the old version which would have been good I might add. It was a great script, and it was a great director, and I’m not saying it would have changed the world, but that movie would have worked, I will say that. I’m objective about it and I’m also a critic, I am nothing if not a critic. I’m telling you that, again, it wouldn’t have changed the world, but that would have been a nice little movie I think, but they [Warner Brothers] just didn’t want to cross their streams with a whole bunch of Batmans in the universe and all the other reasons they didn’t make it. I’m just saying that in an isolated world, that was not a bad movie. I will say that I don’t have any particular affinity for the Flash. I grew up reading comic books, and loving them, and I still have a fondness for them. Although, the older I get the more saturated the marketplace gets, I find the less I care as a whole. That said, of course I’d do it yet, it doesn’t hold a special place in my heart, that character.