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HOUDINI (2014)
Airing on September 1 & 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Role: Harry Houdini • Status: Completed | Photos | Official Website

Role: Dmitri • Status: Completed | Photos | Official Website

Role: Frankie • Status: Completed | Photos | Official Website

  BACKTRACK (2014)
Role: Peter Bower • Status: P-Production | Photos | Official Website

Role: Tiberius • Status: Filming | Photos | Official Website

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Launched: November 2010
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[Growing up in Queens, New York] “I hung out with troublemakers. I was a sensitive teenage boy, who luckily had kind parents, but I lived in a not-so-kind neighborhood. In order to deal with it, I toughened up and became more of a hoodier kid. It was never malicious, that`s not in my nature, but I was much harder than I am today. Had I not had parents I could talk to, it would have got out of hand.”

[On playing hero Jack Driscoll in Peter Jackson`s _King Kong_] “I`ve always wanted to do something like King Kong. It`s a phenomenal role that any actor would kill for. I`ve been looking for this kind of iconic leading man guy for years, but they are hard to find.”

[On giving up material possessions and shedding 30 pounds for The Pianist (2002)] “There`s no comparison to what Wladyslaw Szpilman went through and the suffering that people during the Holocaust, or nations afflicted with famine are going through, but it gave me a much greater understanding of that. And you can`t act that. I take the work very seriously.”

I grew up without a lot of money and my parents grew up with far less money. And that`s kept me in line. Really in line.

I would have loved to make a lot of money as an actor. I would have loved to not live in a shitty little apartment for most of the time I`ve been in Los Angeles. I would have loved to have nice things and bought new cars, but it`s painful for me to do a bad role. Personally painful. You feel like you`re lying to everybody. It`s just not worth it.

[On being enrolled into acting classes by his parents when he was a teen] “I liked it instantly. Aside from being one of only three boys in a class of 20 girls – the odds were fantastic – I felt I was good at it, it was creative. I had been encouraged by my parents to be outspoken and free, so I was pretty much disinhibited. It was a good outlet for me.”

[Upon being described as “a young Al Pacino”] “I`m a young Adrien Brody, thanks.”

I`ve never taken a role for money. I felt it would be wrong – not necessarily a career decision – just wrong.

[On his role in The Thin Red Line (1998) being cut down from lead character to bit part] “It kind of felt like a soldier coming home after giving his soul and then not being appreciated. At 24, it sucked; it was embarrassing because I would assume if an actor was cut out of a movie of that nature with a director of that caliber it must be as a result of a flaw in the actor`s work. Not as a result of a director changing his vision. But you pick yourself up. The advantage of being a bigger name is it costs them too much money to cut you out of a movie.”

[On working with Roman Polanski on The Pianist (2002)] “We were shooting a scene and he`s like: `Adrien, I need you to climb up the building. And I want you to go up to the roof and I want you to climb out the window. And I want you to hang and they`re going to shoot at you. And I want you to slide off the building and hold on to the gutter and then you`re going to fall,` And I said, `Has anyone tried this before?` And he said, `Hollywood actors! Come on, I show you, I show you.` And he runs up the building, sixty-eight years old, climbs out the window and hangs from the window, slides down the roof of the building, hangs from the gutter, jumps down to the ground, brushes himself off and he said, `There, somebody did it. Now do it.`”

[On proclaiming himself a magician at age five] “I was an amazing Adrien. I may still be at times. In retrospect, I see that was my first performance. And you know a lot about magic is not just the trick, it`s the pattern. It`s the delivery. It`s the presentation. And this is why you`re going to be amazed.”

I think to be a well-rounded person, you have to experience good and bad, wonderful moments and pain. You need to meet people who have no exposure to kindness, who lack any opportunity and have no way out–like the homeless, the mentally ill–and you`ve got to learn empathy for them.

I don`t think anyone saw me as the heroic leading man before I won an Oscar. I`m not sure anyone does now, outside of Peter Jackson.

[On motorcycling in India] I almost died. I jammed on the brakes, skidded and nearly slammed into it. I was laughing, thinking `This is the way I`ll be remembered: rear-ending a cow`.

Everything is harder than you would imagine, including success. You might think it`s lovely to be famous, but if your process is to constantly observe people and human behavior and yet everyone is observing you all the time, how do you do what you do? I never saw that coming as an obstacle.

You get a little fame as an actor and suddenly people ask your opinion on world politics and why we`re in Iraq. Why is my opinion any more valid than anyone else`s? My opinion doesn`t count more just because I`m famous now.

[On being strapped in a straitjacket and thrown in a body drawer for The Jacket (2005)] “Those situations are very challenging, emotionally and psychologically, to find yourself in a confined space like that. I thought it would be interesting. It was very painful and I kind of encouraged that pain. I spent time in an isolation tank — lots of time — and I would let them leave me in the jacket and leave me in the drawer for a while.”

I suppose that means I`m not easy to define. But that`s good, isn`t

They compare me to Al Pacino — I admire and appreciate the comparison. But, really, I`d rather be thought of as “the first Adrien Brody,” than “the new Al Pacino!

I`m not the kind of person to deliberately behave differently for the sake of behaving differently, but there are certain things that you have to kind of be true to and sacrifice your own freedom at that time to do.

[On winning the Academy Award for Best Actor] “It`s interesting, winning an Academy Award as a young man…life-changing, but I`m just me within that. It`s been very helpful for my career, but I`m trying to stay on the path I was on before.”

[On Roman Polanski] “He wasn`t easy on me, ever. He wasn`t particularly kind to me, but he wasn`t – he was never disrespectful regarding the work. I grew. I`m stronger, I`m tougher from Roman. I`m tougher. I`m not harder, I`m just tougher.”

My dad told me, `It takes fifteen years to be an overnight success,` and it took me seventeen and a half years.

[On his role as Jack in Love the Hard Way (2001)]
“I identified a lot with that character, I was exorcising the demons that I`d has as a hoody kid in Queens, where you hold your own or wither. So my character out-hustled the hustle.”

[On working on Peter Jackson`s King Kong (2005)] “I`m running around in front of a green screen screaming, Where`s the monkey? Where`s the monkey?”

I was a wild, mischievous kid and I had tremendous imagination. Any experience I had, I`d try to reenact it. I always had an actor within me.

[On his role as the village idiot in _Village, The (2004)_ ] “It just felt like it was the unconventional choice. It was the kind of role that I would have taken prior to the Academy Awards. A lot of actors tend to wait for the perfect role. And that perfect role may never come. I don`t want to start changing the way that I view things and become precious.”

“It made me have a much greater understanding of loss, of loneliness, and the level of intense tragedy that so many people have experienced in this world, I take a lot less for granted. It`s really valuable to gain that, especially at a young age.” – Referring to his portrayal of Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman who survived the Holocaust.

@Various Sources