Robert Rodriguez planning on remaking Predator.
The Pianist star was this week unveiled as the man who is to take Arnold Schwarzenegger's part on Robert Rodriguez's Predator remake. Will he be … bad?
Adrien Brody is doubtless still best known for evading Nazi capture in Roman Polanski's The Pianist - a part for which he won an Oscar in 2002. But he's had such a strikingly eclectic career since (soulful savant, Gulf war veteran, private eye, King Kong-battling writer) it oughtn't to have come as a big shock that he's now been cast as the (human) lead in Robert Rodriguez's Predators reboot.
It has, however. Confusion reigns in the geekosphere. "Could he kick Dutch's ass? Probably not," dismisses Aint It Cool News, while the LA Times' Patrick Goldstein writes: "Does this sound like a miscasting of epic proportions or what? Can you imagine Brody fighting aliens, much less shooting the gun and kissing the girl?"
The original 1987 Predator was known for copious quantities of muscle, with Arnold Schwarzenegger leading a cast that also included Carl Weathers (aka Rocky's Apollo Creed) and former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, along with other assorted hulks. So the stories go that the actors would secretly wake in the small hours in order to turn up on set in full buffed-up mode, the better to convince their co-stars that their physiques were God-given.
By way of contrast, Brody is nothing if not slim, but I think the naysayers may be missing the point. The hiring of an Academy Award-winning actor suggests to me that Rodriguez is taking the project pretty seriously, and that has to be good news. In any case, the original Predator was not defeated by muscle alone, but rather by a combination of brawn and brain - with the emphasis on the latter.
Furthermore, Brody is said to have lobbied hard for the role, and has a naturalistic acting style that allows him to straddle a lot of genres. He's a class act, and the supporting cast also looks good: Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo is always good value, while the trashy element is fulfilled with the presence of UFC fighter Oleg Taktarov. Alice Braga (I Am Legend), Mahershalalhashbaz Ali (The 4400) and Walt Goggins (The Shield) will complete the team of elite warrior-types who find themselves hunted by the mandible-sporting extra-terrestrial in the new film.
Predators, which has been named in homage to James Cameron's Alien sequel, Aliens, could yet undo all the damage done by those cheap Aliens vs Predator films. Or it could be a completely pointless reboot. We'll just have to wait and see.
In other Brody news this week, here's the first look at his other new science fiction project: Splice. This one comes from Vincenzo Natali, director of the brilliantly claustrophobic Cube more than 10 years ago. For some reason, he hasn't done an awful lot of notable work since, though 2002's Cypher was a passable sci-fi update on Orwellian paranoiac themes.
In this one Brody stars alongside Sarah Polley as scientists having a crack at splicing human genes with those of animals to create a new hybrid. These kind of themes are nothing new - remember grisly twin TV projects First Born and Chimera many years ago? - but they are surely ripe for ploughing in the era of DNA fearmongering, and Natali is long overdue a standout project.
Finally this week, yet another blistering Aint It Cool review has been published of fantasy romp Solomon Kane, based on the books by Conan creator Robert E Howard. I'm now really keen to see this one, which comes from British director Michael J Bassett, and stars James Purefoy as the puritanical warrior battling devilish forces in 16th century England. Here's the trailer for those who've not yet seen it: I have to say I'm not entirely convinced by Purefoy's Wurzels accent, but perhaps it's authentic?
What are your views, on this week's big geek stories? Is Adrien Brody cut out to step into Arnie's boots? Will Splice represent an intelligent treatise on vital themes, or do you smell schlocky rabble-rousing? And could Solomon Kane be the best celluloid reinvention of Howard's work since John Milius's Conan in 1982?http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2009/oct/08/predator-arnold-schwarzenegger