Adam Brody stars in the upcoming film Welcome to the Jungle alongside comedy greats Kristen Schaal and Rob Huebel, with Jean-Claude Van Damme at the helm. We chatted with the actor about indie films, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s penis and the most important part of a healthy relationship. Get Welcome to the Jungle on Blu-ray and DVD on March 25.
Playboy.com: You got to work with a lot of great comedians in Welcome to the Jungle but you also got to work with Jean-Claude Van Damme… I just need to know what he’s actually like!
Brody: He is a great comedian. He’s really funny and he’s a good storyteller. As you said, we had a lot of great comedians in the movie, but all of us, even the most cynical of the comedians, would sit at wrap sessions and listen while he’d just tell us stories on the beach about his life or worldviews or whatever. [Van Damme] is very captivating. He only knew us by our character names, but he was very warm. And he really wanted to do well, even though I think he felt a little out of his element. I’m sure he tries hard in everything he does, but he was really giving this project his all. He was a little nervous at first but he just went for it and it really shows in the film. He just lived up to my greatest expectations of him. I had a couple years in my childhood where I absolutely worshipped him.
I was so interested, it’s such a wacky… you think of him as almost alien like especially to an American, you just don’t see him a lot. Him in a vacuum is so interesting and then him opposite Kristen Shaal? I can’t even comprehend it, like what planet are we on!? So it was so interesting to merge these two worlds and I knew that it would be interesting no matter how he was but it turned out he’s a perfect gentleman and a real pro and we all just kind of adored him; he’s really great.
Playboy.com: Did you learn any moves?
Brody: No, but I accidentally saw his junk when he was changing—and that’s a true story! It was the first day and he was changing out in a field and I was like, “Whoa, wait! He’s not wearing any underwear!” But I didn’t learn any moves…but like I said, he did tell us a lot of stories. But I didn’t ask for any. I’m sure he’s had a lot of people out there asking how to kick, so I didn’t want to be one of “those guys.”
Playboy.com: You’ve taken a few indie roles lately. What draws you to independent movies?
Brody: I don’t like to make too much money. [laughs] I’m a fan of all genres. I think that indie is a misnomer if you think of it as oh, this is an independent movie so this is smart and studio movies are dumb. I do think, as a whole, studio movies are dumb. But I also think that plenty of independent movies are really dumb too, and you’re lucky to get a good one of either type. Some independent work is truly artistic. When I think of my favorite movies of any given year, at least three of my top five favorite movies would be on the low-budget side; they wouldn’t be the big studio movies. The thing about independents is that you don’t need to reach a bigger audience; it’s about finding your niche and really appealing to that niche audience. You don’t have to please as many people. You just need to appeal to a small group. I think that’s where a lot of the signature voices come in or some of the more distinct art is being done, but, you know, there’s those tours and studio movies as well and some of it’s business. I can only go where the jobs take me!
Playboy.com: What I like about indie films lately is the way they draw from so many stars from different genres.
Brody: Even indies are really beholden to their financiers. They have to get someone in to cast it right. But I’m fairly certain that this budget was solely secured on Van Damme and then once we had Van Damme in our budget you can cast anyone. You don’t have a lot of money, but whoever the director likes, go for it. I came onboard pretty early and was instrumental to securing a lot of this cast and I’m so proud of this cast. After Van Damme, there’s no one above the director and my friend who produced it and, at a certain point, myself saying that you couldn’t cast this person or you know. It was just anyone that we all liked that could do it, we could get. I am so proud of this guy, it really is my dream cast!
Playboy.com: What’s in your garage? What are you driving these days?
Brody: I really love my car. It’s the Lexus Hybrid SUV. It’s a 2007 but I own it and I love it. I’m going to hang on to it for a long time. And then I have a skateboard and a bike.
Playboy.com: What’s an article of clothing you couldn’t live without?
Brody: I can live without all of my clothes, but I guess I need some article of clothing to stay warm or I would freeze to death. If I was in a desert and if we are talking literally, I would pick my shoes first and then a jacket. But if I could only keep one article in a non-survival thing I like my jeans because they’re that raw denim that I can wear every single day for three years and not wash, so I really don’t have to worry about pants. So I think a really good pair of jeans could be my foundation for three years at a time.
Playboy.com: I’m sure for work you have to travel a lot. What do you always bring with you?
Brody: Aside from my shoes, I always bring good vibes.
Playboy.com: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Brody: “You’re going to want to operate on that.”
Playboy.com: What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned?
Brody: I don’t think I’ve learned any life lessons, I don’t know if I’m a fountain of knowledge. The most important life lesson, I think, is that widescreen ratio is overrated for movies.
Playboy.com: What is the most important part of a healthy relationship?
Brody: A respect and a punishment-reward sort of routine. [laughs]