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Adam Brody steps to the side of the spotlight

His career since 'The O.C.' might appear random, but he's more focused on 'interesting' than 'being the lead.'

October 02, 2013|By Amy Kaufman
  • Adam Brody, who gained fame in TV's "The O.C.," which was set in Newport Beach, has had a string of unexpected film roles this year.
Adam Brody, who gained fame in TV's "The O.C.,"… (Francine Orr / Los…)

There was a hole in the sleeve of Adam Brody's threadbare T-shirt. His eyes were still puffy from sleep, even though it was nearly noon. He looked as though he had rolled out of bed just moments before leaving his home in Encino and driving down to Jan's Restaurant, an old-school West Hollywood diner.

He seemed nothing like Seth Cohen, the well-to-do nerd he played to great fanfare on the popular teen soap "The O.C." But it's been six years since the Fox program went off the air, and a lot has changed.

When "The O.C." ended, Brody was considered one of Hollywood's brightest young stars, endearing himself to Generation Y as Seth, a fast-talking sarcastic dude who liked comic books and indie bands but was able to land the popular girl. His affable character still has a cultural effect— a reminder of which came in August, when stories commemorating the program's 10th anniversary blanketed the Internet.

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That Brody, now 33, would go on to play what he jokingly refers to as "the token white guy" in "Baggage Claim," a film aimed at African American audiences, is probably not what most fans of "The O.C." anticipated. But his part in the movie, released Friday, is only the latest in a string of unexpected film roles. This year alone, he's popped up as mustachioed porn star Harry Reems in "Lovelace," a remorseful lothario in the Neil LaBute-penned "Some Girl(s)" and a Jewish suitor on "The Bachelor" spoof "Burning Love."

Busy? Yes. But it's not by design.

"I have a say in my career to a certain point, but I can only play with the toys I'm given," acknowledged Brody. "My agent fishes and brings me the couple catches of the month. He errs on the side of 'let's do it' and I err on the side of 'let's not' and we meet in the middle."

In a sense, Brody has become a character actor, except that the character he's playing is just a regular guy — think a younger version of Jason Bateman.

"He's a Renaissance guy, which seems to be rare in this town," said David Talbert, the writer and director of "Baggage Claim."

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