Can you believe it has already been 18 years since Adrien Brody went from being a Hollywood actor on the rise to an Academy Award winner? Today, Brody is shifting his focus for a moment from film to television as he stars in the new series Chapelwaite, premiering tonight at 10pm/9pm central on EPIX. “I’ve been looking forward to finding something like this for a long time,” Brody tells me at Forbes.
Based off of the short story Jerusalem’s Lot by Stephen King and adapted for the small screen by Jason and Peter Filardi, Chapelwaite follows new widower Charles Boone (Brody) and his family as they try to adjust to their eerie new home in Maine in the 1850s and the mysteries surrounding their Boone relatives, the neighboring town and its unwelcoming residents.
“I liked this addition of a father saddled with the burden of now, after his wife’s passing, having to have this new responsibility of taking care of his children’s welfare, in addition to all the other burdens that he was facing,” Brody continues. “I thought that would be a compelling journey to go on as a man and he’s an interesting protagonist, and so that first and foremost attracted me to the role. EPIX has held this up very much and I think we are in good hands.”
Chapelwaite looks to captivate television viewers with its darker tone and engrossing acting performances from a strong ensemble of actors led by Brody and Schitt’s Creek actress Emily Hampshire. Plus, the advantage always of being on cable over network television is it also allows Chapelwaite to hold back less on showing the more haunting and occasionally gory images without much discretion on-screen.
Brody is also an executive producer on this project, a role behind the camera in which he takes great pride in. “I have a responsibility I feel to help steer the ship as best as I can and contribute what I can. The knowledge that I’ve learned over the years and earned to help stand up for the things that I feel are meaningful for the show and also help with certain problem-solving and sometimes help with many other aspects of production. I think it’s important. I’ve been around a long time and I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have a certain level of understanding that is valuable, so it’s for everyone’s benefit, I feel, the more involved I can be.”
This is far from the first story-to-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s vast library of chilling tales, and Brody openly shares his admiration for the iconic author. “He’s such a unique writer. I mean, obviously so many people gravitate to his work and have interpreted his work and have made film adaptions of his work. He’s remarkable. I love how he can create such a visual realm. The narrative is just so beautiful and tormented and I just dig it. I dig his work.”
Now at the age of 48, Brody has noticed his mindset and approach towards Hollywood evolve as time and his commitment to projects continues onward. “I am an actor and I’ve always been an actor and I’ve been working my entire adult life. I guess obviously if you spend a lot of time working in one field, you gain an intimate knowledge of the workings of that. I guess I understand aspects of the film industry in a much greater capacity. I’ve recently co-written a film that I’ve wanted to make for many years and produced and raised financing. It’s just evolved, I guess, as I’ve evolved as a man. I started young and I’m a very passion human being and a very emotionally-led person and I guess I’ve grown a bit more analytical as well over the years, but I haven’t lost my emotional openness and my depth. My yearning to connect with characters. I’ve grown up a bit as my career has grown, as well.”
Reflecting on the night of March 23, 2003 when Brody took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in the film The Pianist, I concluded my conversation with Brody by asking if he would give any advice to his former self looking back on that special night, after everything he has experienced and achieved in his life up to now.
“That was such a unique experience. You can’t go back and advise on something like that and if I’m ever fortunate to have material that grants me an opportunity to be up there again, it would not be the same, right? It would never compare to what that was and what that was at that time and how much of an underdog I was and the film was. But I do know a lot now I guess, forging forward that I wish I knew then. That I would. I think as far as that moment and leading up to that, that was all a remarkable whirlwind that I just was holding onto.”