TORONTO – Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody admits he wasn’t initially eager to play a character like the one in his new film, “Septembers of Shiraz.”
Brody stars as a law-abiding Jewish-Iranian jeweller who’s arrested in Tehran in the wake of the 1979 revolution and unjustly accused of being a spy for Israel.
As he’s interrogated and tortured, his wife — played by Salma Hayek — desperately tries to find a way to free him.
Wayne Blair directs Hanna Weg’s screenplay, which is based on the book by Dalia Sofer.
Brody says the character reminded him of the one he played in the 2002 Holocaust drama “The Pianist.” That role, of a Polish-Jewish musician struggling to survive in the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War, earned him the best-actor Oscar. The similarities between the two parts had Brody hesitant for two reasons.
“I think in one sense they’re very difficult to shake off in a way, which I’m not afraid of, but it does increase my awareness of the sadness,” he said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where “Septembers of Shiraz” is having its world premiere.
“Even though there is personal growth for the character, there is a great deal of humanity. Just internalizing torture and the abuse inflicted on an individual and absorbing that and conveying that somehow, even though it’s fictional, doesn’t sit well.”
Brody said he’s passed on other films where his character “would inflict a great deal of torture.”
“Because I also don’t want to connect into the ability to do that and the viciousness and the darkness there.”
Brody said he’s “immensely grateful” for the recognition he’s received from “The Pianist,” noting it’s provided him with much of the work he’s come upon since then.
He then got emotional as he admitted that his role in this new film brought him back to the experience of “The Pianist.”
“But it also reminded me that people continue to fall down the wrong path,” he said, his eyes getting watery, “and there’s so much intolerance in the world and there’s so much ignorance and resentment and misplaced resentment and helplessness that fuels this sentiment.
“And that’s heartbreaking.”
By: Victoria Ahearn.
Source: The Canadian Press