Now that Terrence Malick has evolved into a workhorse, much to the pleasure of every cinemaniac, if there's another guy we'd like to see working more frequently, it would be Albert Brooks. He by no means has a small body of work, but for 40+ years in the business, there are surprisingly few credits to his name. Despite this, however, he has managed to craft several memorable movies and characters: his Oscar-nominated turn in James L. Brooks's "Broadcast News" was unquestionably affecting, he was a perfect ingredient in the moving Pixar flick "Finding Nemo," and as a director he never made anything less-than-enjoyable (in fact, "Real Life," "Modern Romance," and "Lost in America" are pretty incredible).
So when early word on his performance in Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" was extremely enthusiastic (complete with Oscar speculation), we quietly hoped this would start some kind of career renaissance for Brooks. It's still too early to tell and for now it's all up in the air 'til them box office receipts roll in -- but thankfully, we do have Judd Apatow's next, untitled-feature (or "This is Forty") to fill ourselves with another helping of the "Defending Your Life" filmmaker.
You're likely familiar with the overall idea by now: the film will follow Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's characters from "Knocked Up," occurring five years after the first movie. Word is mum on the general plot -- and Brooks kept with the cryptic party line -- but the picture's starting to become less opaque. The actor revealed to The Playlist today a bit about where his character comes into play. "A prominent part is Paul Rudd's father, that's what I'm doing. I don't think this is a particular father figure that you'd want… he's more of a bum. It's the first time I've played a father of a guy this age… it makes me feel old."
And speaking of characters, there's a lot to go around. "I'm telling you, everybody in comedy stops there," Brooks exclaimed, and we only need to point you to the latest rundown to back that statement. "This guy gets everybody to do two days, or they come and they watch, it's like the Friar's Club. I look over there, oh, there's Jonah Hill. Oh look at this, there's Vince Vaughn! People are just there. Judd is like the master of ceremonies of that age group of all comedy. It's fun, it's very comfortable, he's given a lot of latitude now so there's no panic on his sets, it's a pretty good working atmosphere." Are those two new names added to the already large smorgasbord of talent? Hill is amongst the Apatow favorites and had a role in "Knocked Up" so it's not unlikely, but Vaughn thrown in the mix (and kept away from some overly-fratty movie that he's likely being courted to do, as per usual) might be rather interesting.
The actor, like many, had plenty more to say about his role in "Drive" (more to come on that as we near its release) as well as his love for Refn and his movies. In fact, the actor is hoping to work with the director again. "I liked his style, he's got an attitude. I love what he does with music, editing, he's a very creative guy. I would work with him in a minute… when you have a good experience, it's like you want to 'dance' again." The Danish filmmaker must be a real Mikhail Baryshnikov then, considering he's got Ryan Gosling tied to "Only God Forgives," a "Logan's Run" remake, and a possible romantic comedy; Carey Mulligan for "I Walk With The Dead"; and even possibly Christina Hendricks for his pie-in-the-sky dream project "Wonder Woman."
But when can Brooks and Refn do the Macarena? The former mentioned a few possible opportunities plus one they just missed. "He's doing 'Only God Forgives' in Bangkok," Brooks explained. "[Refn] told me, 'There's a [role], a gangster with no tongue, he's in one scene but there's no money.' So I was like, 'You want me to fly myself out there for one scene and no tongue? I'm out.' But they were discussing 'Logan's Run' and I was saying let me be the older guy." When pressed about this mysterious romantic-comedy that both Refn and Gosling were egging him on to write, Brooks played things down. "He wants me to write a thing for Ryan that he's gonna direct, I don't know what he's talking about, I just tell him 'yes…' Nicolas is really good, I don't know if I want to write a romantic comedy for him to direct, but we'll see." Point taken, but that certainly doesn't make a possible rom-com from this team any less tantalizing. We guess we'll have to see if Brooks comes around, but our fingers are certainly crossed that he does.
More to come from this session soon. "Drive" hits September 16th.