This weekend director Nimród Antal and producer Robert Rodriguez bring the action packed adventure sequel Predators to the big screen (forget that whole Alien Vs. Predator nonsense, this is a real Predator film), only this time they have Adrien Brody as the super buff lead and and Walton Goggins in toe packed with rude jokes.
Of course we had to start off the press conference with something about Brody’s buff-ness, to which he gave a very actor-y response (as all good actors doing an action film do). Walton had a number of fun stories to chip in. Despite just watching Brody kick ass in the role as Royce before the press conference, in person he was soft spoken, charming, and seemed to approach the physicality in this film, much like he would the emotional transformation in another.
Check our interview with both actors or listen to the whole press conference below…
You probably have gotten quite a few questions about getting into the physical shape to play Royce, but I’m wondering about the process to get into his head. Or was that inseparable from the physical?
Adrien Brody: Um. Thank you for, yes, pointing out there is more to it than physical abilities. You know they do go hand in hand. It is an interesting thing and it’s always surprising to me how much of it is an emotional, psychological transformation ensues with the physical transformation. I experienced that with The Pianist. Obviously, if you feel strong and look good, your confidence level grows and vice versa. In addition to feeling strong, I had restricted my diet in a way, and kind of my lifestyle, in an effort to kind of harness everything that I had in my power to be ferocious and keep that contained. For the first time since college, I had lifted really heavy weights to put on size. I think that is a very different workout process that I’m used to, and that creates additional testosterone – your body chemistry changes. I spent a lot of time cultivating the qualities I felt Royce would possess – that put him in a leadership position. I poured over military manuals and field guides and even read – it is interesting…
Walton Goggins: Stans, on the other hand, he digressed. He just read Playboy… Just sitting in prison. You know, it’s interesting – the thing about the physicality for actors – you have to think about it and once you kind of get that down, then the rest of it starts to kind of fall into place. For me, Stan is the guy who is incarcerated for the better part of the 20 years, and I didn’t really think about this until I got there… And so, I guess my preparation was almost the antithesis of Adrien’s in that this is a guy who has never been in the woods, much less the jungle… So my physical preparation was the lack of physical preparation, which was really interesting for me as an actor. That had never happened before.
Adrien, we just learned you were up for a different role before you got this role. It also seems that your more recent roles are different. Are you trying to redefine yourself as an actor?
AB: It’s surprised to me sometimes when people are surprised at my choices. It seems that they are more surprised as of late. As an actor, I have made a conscious decision to do my best to not repeat myself so that I keep it interesting – the process – for myself and for the people that have seen my work. I have looked long and hard for an opportunity like this and it’s not something that I just decided upon lately. It’s a challenge, I think, when you establish yourself as a certain type of actor or an actor that has not has an opportunity to be seen in a physical role like this or an action film and to win the endorsement of a studio, which I understand is making practical business decisions as well, and I am grateful that I had the support of Robert initially and in Nimrod.
There was interest in another role that didn’t appeal to me. I look at this as an opportunity to do something really special within a type of film that I love, and that I feel sometimes historically Hollywood has had an over reliance on physical brawn as a way to portray a strong man, but that strength has to come from within. I felt that it was very important, especially in today’s audiences with young people, we are all, unfortunately, very familiar with what young soldiers look like and they are not dissimilar to my build. I think military leadership comes from a tactical and technical confidence and skill set and an intellectual strength and a self-reliance, and all these qualities that do make him a leader.
And yes, I did feel like I had to make a physical transformation because I think on one level it is exciting for an audience to see that and I like to see that. I like to see, even if the character is villainous, a heroic character look strong, but I didn’t want to rely on that transformation for me to convey what I feel is necessary in portraying a leading man in a film. It’s a big coup for me. It’s a big deal for me. I’m very protective of this material because I’m a big fan of the original. I’m also respectful to fans and I wanted to give them what they wanted, and hopefully elevate the material as well.
Q: For each of you, was there a moment that was particularly challenging during filming?
WG: I don’t know that there wasn’t a day that wasn’t challenging. Honestly, I mean the movie started off in Hawaii and it was, you know, 95 degrees and 89% humidity, so we were all soaking wet for most of the day. Where we were filming, I think the biggest predators that aren’t seen in this movie are the mosquitoes.
WG: And you can’t really sit down. Everybody is uncomfortable. It is very hard to work in a situation like that. And not just for the actors, but for the crew. It is very difficult to set shots up. Then we left Hawaii and went back to Austin where is was warm for two days and then it dropped down into 40s, to the 30s, and to the 20s, but you have to match the movie so we were soaking wet. We would get sprayed down before every take when it is 20 degrees outside. It was very physically challenging, I think, for all of us. Adrien had it the worst.
Were there any scenes you shot that might end up on the DVD release of the film? Also, is there any possibility of a sequel? Did you discuss with your surviving costar where the characters might go?
AB: Well, you know, I think a lot of that is determined by the success of the film and I don’t think that far ahead. I think the idea of reprising a role and going further into that character sounds interesting to me and isn’t something I’ve had the opportunity to do. It would be exciting to watch a character progress or deteriorate. That’s exciting for an actor and I thoroughly enjoyed playing Royce. Again, part of the attraction is I’m often drawn to material that affects me on an emotional level and the characters are dealing with things that are challenging and that I would question and things that I’m not necessarily familiar with. What I loved about Royce was that he had this emotional hardness that most of the characters that I’ve played don’t come close to possessing, and that’s an interesting state of mind to cultivate and stay in.
And what about deleted scenes?
AB: Deleted scenes. It is hard. I’m sure there is stuff that didn’t end up in the film. I’m sure there will be things. I’ve seen it once and I was kind of awestruck at both loving the film and having this, simultaneously, being so proud to be in it. I was so excited. It brought me back to being a child and watching Predator and being like, “I love this fucking movie.” Then, “That’s me! In it!” It was so, so exciting. It was a gift when I saw it, so I kind of wasn’t dissecting it. I was looking for where we might screw up. I didn’t dissect it.
WG: You know there are casualties, scene casualties, in kind of everything that you do and things that you were pretty proud of on the day, and you may have seen a cut version of it that don’t make the film, but will be on the DVD. I think that was kind of across the board, scenes here and there. There was one scene for Stans that I was really disappointed that didn’t make it, but I understand why. It will make the DVD. It was a scene where Stans goes up to Alice Braga’s character and it’s very funny and kind of like heartwarming, and it just basically makes a pitch that we’re going to die, I know we’re going to die, and I haven’t had sex with a girl in a long time. Please, can I at least just kiss you? You know, and she just shuts him down and just walks away. But, it was very funny.
AB: But it was not as polite as he is saying. Believe me.
Adrien, you talked about being a big fan of the movie. Can you talk about your first experience seeing it?
AB: I was probably 14, opening weekend, smoking cigarettes in the front row in Queens. I remember the theater, I remember one of my really good friends who was with me, and probably the other two kids. My little crew. Whatever, we were there opening weekend and doing our Schwarzenegger impressions for the rest of the week. It had a profound impact on me as an adolescent.
Continuing with that, there was certainly a very fine line, or can be, between action hero and camp and you have spoken a lot about characters who have a lot of emotional resonance. At any point, did you want to push it into the camp?
AB: Of course! It’s tempting under the circumstances. You have to really have a lot of self-control. Always, always as an actor you have to reign it in because sometimes, you know, even having a sense of humor about certain things can distract you from having a cleaner, purer character. Obviously, certain films require it and are fun. I did a very broad comedy called High School where I played this Francis Ford Coppola of the weed growing industry. That character is as broad as it gets. Again, I felt that it was important that that character be intimidating, as well, even though it was very comical. It is a fine line. You have opportunities with certain lines that, you know, you have to be playful with, but for the most part you need to reign it in and be sincere. You can’t just – you can’t be an external thing or else it feels like an external thing, unless that’s the whole tone of something you are doing, but that hasn’t appealed to me just yet. I haven’t found a role that spoke to me like that.
You know Arnold Schwarzenegger loved saying “Hasta la vista, baby.” You know he did.
WG: Yeah. Absolutely.
AB: It’s a tonal thing. I think this is a darker storyline. Like I said, there is room to keep things entertaining and there is room for moments of lightness and playfulness with the work. But again, the general theme here is to be rooted in reality and create a sense of constant threat level and constant looming over all of us. I think, you know, it’s not meant to be that.
WG: But there are many one-liners in this movie, as well. Stan’s line, “Die you space faggot.” You gotta say that and sell it! And, yeah, I had a great time saying it! [laughs] I had a great time saying, “Your ass is awesome.” Great time saying, “I can’t wait to get home and do a bunch of cocaine.” But, tonally, it kind of fits in the story and you kind of pick your places, and hopefully you don’t wink at the audience unless that’s what’s required.
One of the many things I love about this movie was all the blood, sweat, and grime. It is something you don’t see that in big, summer movies like back in the 80’s. I am wondering if the actors would discuss how grimy and sweaty they got?
AB: He got pretty grimy. There were bugs. I would stay away from him because there would be swarms of insects coming to the stage blood. That blood is sugar based and he was covered in it.
WG: Stans gets his ass kicked by pretty much everything on the planet. Look, you’re actors getting the opportunity to be on an alien planet and get chased by predators. What greater situation can an actor find himself in? So yeah, I think there was a lot of joy in, “Let’s bring it on!” This isn’t about looking pretty! You know? Let’s get chased. I think we reveled in it. I think we – I did – I took a lot of enjoyment out of it.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD ON WALTON’S CHARACTERS LINES!
By the time you start talking about how much raping you were going to do, I think the audience is waiting to see what sort of death comes to you from the Predator. Were you sort of building up to making us want that? Were you trying to create a character where the audience takes joy in how he gets it?
WG: You know, it’s funny that was your reaction. I think, for me, I’ve made four movies with my partner, so I’m very aware of what it’s like to take an audience through an experience being behind the camera. For me, what was so important about that scene in particular, from a filmmaker’s stand point and then from an actor’s stand point, was it was the first time in the movie where everyone’s kind of quiet and the people that are left are in a fox hole, and you are able for a minute to just let the air out and kind of see these people – like observe these people – and I actually thought if I can make the audience think I’m going to say something sentimental and kind of lull them in a sense of, “You know, we are all in this together and I just can’t wait to get home and have a hamburger” and then he goes off, “I can’t wait to get home and do a bunch of cocaine!” [laughs] Because in his mind, he thinks, “You know what? I’m going to get off this planet and I’m going to be an even bigger celebrity when I get back home. There is no way they are going to put me back in jail.” For me, I looked at it as a…
WG: Yeah! Yeah! And being a moment of comic relief for the audience to kind of sit back and laugh for a minute, and to kind of bring this team together in a very intimate setting. I’ll just say one other thing real quick. My struggle, or not struggle, but my blessing and curse as an actor has been from “The Shield” to a lot of things that I’ve done, have been to take someone on paper that the audience should hate immediately, and you know this guy and you will not like him, and then kind of turn it around and make you feel for him; make you laugh, let you in, and kinda paint him three dimensional. Yeah, you look for your place in a movie.
Check out Predators in theaters July 9th!