Oscar Actors: Brody, Adrien on Clean and Winning Time

Adrien Brody to Co-Write and Score ‘Clean’

The actor also reflects on playing legendary coach Pat Riley in Adam McKay’s upcoming Lakers drama, Winning Time.

Adrien Broday batted around the idea of Clean for a decade, but the crime drama was truly set in motion while the Oscar winner was acting on the set of Peaky Blinders in 2017.

Clean tells the story of Clean (Brody), a waste collector who’s actively trying to make amends for his dark and tragic past, and Brody co-wrote, produced and scored the film alongside director Paul Solet.

The duo had previously worked together on 2017’s Bullet Head, and when Solet needed to do an ADR session with Brody, he took a trip to Manchester, England, where Brody was filming Peaky season four. Inspired by Peaky creator Steven Knight and the hit series’ all-star cast led by Cillian Murphy, Brody pitched his passion project to Solet on the spot.

Peaky Blinders basically led to Clean because I was very inspired and in a zone,” Brody tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It bolstered a degree of confidence that it took for me to be decisive and to engage Paul [Solet], and say, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s go and build this because it’s not just coming.’ So the writing process started right at that time [while shooting Peaky Blinders season four].”

Brody is looking ahead to his role as Pat Riley on HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, the anticipated miniseries from Adam McKay, Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht.

“It was very exciting and very challenging,” Brody shares. “It’s an amazing thing to portray someone you find very heroic and learn about times in their life that precede them being the man you thought you knew. It’s an amazing thing to just start to touch on that journey of [Pat Riley’s] and understand parallels even within me. It’s that feeling that you’ve got a lot that you can give to the game, and you have to build those opportunities. So that’s something that he’s managed to do in spades, and I’m very impressed by him and what he’s accomplished in life.”

Brody also explains how his Oscar-winning role in The Pianist influenced his own original score for Clean.

Then he shares his impression of Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic, Blonde, in which he plays Arthur Miller, the esteemed playwright and third husband of Monroe (Ana de Armas).


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Adrien Brody in Clean COURTESY OF IFC FILMS

What got the ball rolling?

This endless quest to find the right role within this space. It wasn’t coming to me. Nobody was writing it for me. I hadn’t seen this quite in the way we’ve managed to depict it, and I’d been yearning for that for a long time on many, many levels. I wanted to honor all the influences in my life growing up in Queens, in New York, through the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and my film influences and the screenwriting I admire. So I couldn’t really wait any longer. I hadn’t officially helmed a screenplay and I had this brewing in me for a decade, at least. I’d worked with Paul [Solet] several years before, and while I was shooting Peaky Blinders in Manchester, he came to visit and do some ADR. So I pitched him the tone of what this needed to be and what I felt like I’d been yearning to do. I said that I wanted to set out and really make an independent film from scratch, with my production company, and I asked if he’d help me tell the story. And he loved it and had wonderful ideas right away. He, too, had a lot of similar influences and it was very personal to him as well in a lot of ways. So we got cracking. It was a very long process that led to a lot of other creative discoveries for me with the music. I got to bring in wonderful people I’ve worked with and love. All the actors are so wonderful and everybody gave so much. I’m really grateful for that. It’s an amazing thing to watch it come to life, and to finally offer myself the opportunity that I’d been yearning for so long.