In the new film, Manhattan Night, which is available On Demand, in theaters and on Digital HD, Adrien Brody plays a crime reporter sucked into a tale of sex, murder and blackmail as he investigates the mysterious death of a film director.
The role is just one of many to be adapted from a novel -- in this case, Manhattan Nocturne by Colin Harrison -- for Brody, whose work still remains as varied since some of his earliest work in The Thin Red Line. The Terrence Malick film was based on the novel by James Jones.
Figuring out how faithful to be to the original text has been the downfall of many adaptations, but successfully avoided here. “Brian [DeCubellis] crafted a beautiful screenplay adaptation of the novel and worked closely with Colin,” Brody tells ET. “He really came to me with some of the most well-written characters and stories I've read in ages, so there was no work for me to do in that respect.”
Instead of having to worry about the text, Brody could focus on his performance. “He gave me the ammunition to portray a nuanced family man who makes a mistake and gets in way over his head,” Brody adds.
Any added pressure of adapting the film came from stepping up as a producer of Manhattan Night, which Brody did to help finance the project. “I first became involved several years back, when I was offered a role in the film,” he says. “They were struggling with getting the movie made, so ultimately I decided to come on board as a producer.”
While it’s not his first time as a producer, it was his most active yet. “For as long as I can recall, participated in helping first-time directors or less-experienced productions navigate the obstacles that inevitably come up in making independent films,” Brody says. “In this case, I've taken on a much bigger, more formal role in actively fundraising as well as on-set producing. The process is more cumbersome but more gratifying as you really participate in the complexity of putting together a good movie and appreciate the collaborative efforts of everyone involved.”
The result is a twisty thriller that surprises and entertains, though the reviews have been mixed. But the biggest takeaway, for Brody at least, may be the value of time.
“You also gain a lot of insight into what it is like on the other side of the camera -- for instance, you realize how frustrating it is when an actor doesn't get back to you when considering them, and how much pressure it is being under the gun with having to make decisions,” Brody says. “I try to be more considerate to productions now when presented with a script to consider. And I am always punctual.”