Adrien Brody (born April 14, 1973) is an Academy Award-winning American actor. He received widespread recognition when he was cast as the lead in Roman Polanski's The Pianist (2002). The role won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, the youngest actor ever to win the award.
Brody was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York to Elliot Brody, a retired history professor, and Sylvia Plachy, a photojournalist. Brody's father is Jewish and his Catholic mother was born in Hungary; Brody's Hungarian maternal grandmother was also Jewish. As a child, Brody performed magic shows at children's birthday parties as "The Amazing Adrien." He attended New York's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (famous as the inspiration for television's Fame). His parents enrolled him in acting classes to distance him from the dangerous kids with whom he associated.
In 1992, Brody was seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident in which he flew over a car and crashed feet-first into a crosswalk. He spent months recuperating. An avid daredevil, he has broken his nose three times doing off-the-wall stunts.
Right now, he is dating the spanish actress Elsa Pataky.
Brody hovered on the brink of stardom, receiving praise for his roles in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam and Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line. He received widespread recognition when he was cast as the lead in Roman Polanski's The Pianist (2002). To prepare for the role, Brody withdrew for months, gave up his apartment and his car, learned how to play Chopin on the piano, and lost 29 lbs (13 kg). The role won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the youngest actor ever to win the award. He also won a Cesar Award for his performance, becoming the only American actor to win one.
Throughout his career, Brody has been compared to Al Pacino and Marlon Brando for his unique looks and method acting. He is also widely known for giving presenter Halle Berry a back-breaking kiss after winning his Best Actor Oscar, and as the spokesman for fashion brand Ermenegildo Zegna.
Brody appeared on Saturday Night Live on May 10, 2003, his first TV work, but he was banned from the show after giving an improvised introduction while wearing faux dreadlocks for Jamaican reggae musical guest Sean Paul (the show's producer, Lorne Michaels, is notorious for hating unscripted performances). However, the unscripted intro remains in reruns of the episode. Other TV appearances include NBC's The Today Show and on MTV's Punk'd after being tricked by Ashton Kutcher.
After The Pianist Brody has appeared in three very different movies. He played Noah Percy, a mentally disabled young man in the movie The Village by M. Night Shyamalan, shell-shocked war veteran Jack Starks in The Jacket, and writer Jack Driscoll in the 2005 King Kong remake. He also played a detective in Hollywoodland.
He has also appeared in Diet Coke commercials and Tori Amos' music video for "A Sorta Fairytale".
On January 5, 2006, Brody confirmed speculation that he indeed was interested and very willing to play the role of The Joker in 2008's The Dark Knight. However, Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. eventually decided to cast Heath Ledger as The Joker. It has been confirmed that he is in talks with Paramount to play Spock in J.J. Abrams Star Trek XI
Brody has been confirmed to star as a con man in Rian Johnson's The Brothers Bloom, which is slated for a 2008 release date.
Taking acting classes as a youth, by age 13 he had done an off-Broadway play and a PBS-TV-movie.