x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Life Lessons: Adrien Brody

The Oscar winning actor Adrien Brody on his lessons from life.

Peter Kramer / AP
Peter Kramer / AP

The American actor Adrien Brody, 37, won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in The Pianist when he was only 29, making him the youngest such winner ever. We caught up with the star last month at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, where his latest film, Wrecked, premiered.


Always take opportunities for self-discovery. This is a key lesson I learnt when rehearsing for my role in The Pianist. It was intense, but incredibly rewarding in so many ways. It changed my perspective as a human being, and gave me an understanding that I didn't previously possess. I look at that time as the moment when I moved into manhood, where I realised, through my research about loss, how much I had taken for granted in my lifetime. This was the hardest role of my life but I learnt so much about who I am.

Accept that you cannot please everyone. You cannot make people happy all the time, neither in life nor in movies, and the trick is not to try. Speak the truth to people from the heart.

Be empathetic. I've had major life experiences through some of the characters I have played, but I think this can be done daily by putting yourself in other people's shoes. The key is to be conscious of the lessons that come from one's mistakes. I've had the good fortune of living through the mistakes of many lives that aren't even my own.

Expect nothing. Life is often not how you imagine it to be. The fewer expectations you have, the easier it is to meander through the day-to-day and enjoy what comes. One of the tricks to contentment or personal fulfilment is to embrace things and enjoy the present moment.

Our time here on Earth is short.  Life isn't all about financial rewards. I've never taken a role for money. I get more joy seeking out new, challenging things.


As told to Jemma Nicholls