INTERVIEW: Jon Lee Brody Talks Possible Superhero Roles, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS & More
Last week we reported that Fox and WB are apparently trying to get a leg up on Marvel by looking at lots of unknown - or not very well known - young actors to fill some of the roles in their slate of upcoming comic book movies. We couldn't find out which roles specifically but one of those actors agreed to answer a few questions for us, so maybe he'll shed some light on things! Jon Lee Brody is fast making a name for himself in Hollywood. The athletic 6’2” Asian-Jewish-German is a highly skilled actor and stunt man who has appeared in such films as The Dark Night, Tron: Legacy, and will also appear in Star Trek: Into Darkness. He also has an impressive slate of film and tv projects in the works, and below he talks to us about all of the above!
You may remember Jon was one of the names on our list of actors being looked at for future CBM roles, and here he talks exclusively to us about that, his part in the new Star Trek movie, and more!
CBM: So a little bird told us that you might have recently read for a superhero role (or roles) in some upcoming comic book movies. Obviously I don't expect full disclosure, but is there anything you can tell us about that?
JLB: "Well, I won't plead the fifth on this question because I think that would be a punk move. But all I can say is that I won't confirm nor deny that I may or may not have read for any superhero role or roles. (laughs)"
CBM: Good enough! And that's great news by the way, hope it works out. I believe your fist big-screen acting job was a part in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight? That must have been quite an experience, what can you tell us about it?..and did you also audition for TDKR?
JLB: "Yes it was! I'm impressed you knew that! I was still living in Chicago (my original hometown) at the time. My acting teacher suggested that I go be a background actor on 'The Dark Knight' because it would be a great learning experience. I ended up getting to be a waiter in one of the scenes. I don't have any lines and all you see is the back of my head but was still a great experience! I was very impressed with how Christopher Nolan runs his set. There isn't a detail too small for him. Nothing goes unnoticed.
And I did try to get on TDKR. But they were shooting out of state mostly and were bringing on local hires. That seems to be the latest trend with productions. And as a producer I totally get it. Because in order to fully recoup the out of state incentives, you need to hire mostly locals. It is what it is and ultimately wasn't meant to be. But it didn't stop me from enjoying the movie."
CBM: And we'll also see you in Star Trek Into Darkness! You can actually be glimpsed in that still from the movie with Benedict Cumberbatch's character surrounded by red-shirts - does this mean you won't be making it to the end credits? Also, you may as well tell us who he's really playing while you're at it!
JLB: "Well, with great power comes great responsibility. I understood the deep history of the Red Shirt and I took that responsibility in stride and wore that red shirt proudly! As far as whether I make it to the end credits or not, given the history of red shirts, Im sure Trekkies can draw their own conclusion as to whether I survive or not. But I'll just let you all see for yourselves!
But working on that movie was an amazing time and a true privilege! Everyone in the cast and crew was super cool and fun to be around. It never felt like work. I learned so much by watching JJ do his thing and Dan Mindel is one of my favorite cinematographers so it was really cool to be on set with him too.
And yes I do know who Benedict is playing...
..He's playing John Harrison, a former member of Star Fleet who is out for vengeance. Apparently, there are theories out there that 'John Harrison' is just a cover for something else. I wouldn't know anything about that. And even if I did, I'm pretty sure Paramount and/or JJ would have me killed for spoiling anything. Actually, I'm pretty sure there was a 'shoot to kill on sight for spoiling plot points' clause in the NDA we signed!"
CBM: Ah well, can't blame me for trying! I think he will turn out to be someone OTHER than John Harrison, but we'll see! So what else have you got coming up then?
JLB: "Proud to say there's quite a bit in the pipeline! Well in April I have a movie coming out called 'Pawn'. It's a really cool crime thriller with an all star cast: Forest Whitaker, Michael Chiklis, Sean Faris, Common, Ray Liotta, Nikki Reed, Jessica Szohr and Jonathan Bennett to name a few. I recently completed a little movie called 'Police Guys'. That's an action comedy in the vain of movies like 'Tropic Thunder' or 'Hot Shots'. I directed, wrote, produced and acted in it and I'm happy to tell you that there are also plans to turn it into a full length feature and possibly a TV series!
I have an action/thriller screenplay that I wrote over four years ago called 'Legacy' that just entered pre-production. It's a script that means a lot to me. I guess it's to me what Rocky or Good Will Hunting was to Sly Stallone and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, respectively. Also in the pipeline is a MMA movie called 'Hurricane Kid' I came up with the story and my friend John Edward Betancourt wrote the screenplay. I've already assembled some of the cast and we're in active development. And I'm also directing a couple things in the coming months too. I really love the role of director. I've still got a lot to learn but it's a great journey that I'm on!"
CBM: You certainly have a lot coming up, look forward to checking it out. Just one more question - if you could play any superhero or comic book character, who would it be?
JLB: "Wow. This is a tough one. I'm gonna cheat and pick a couple because there's so many great superheroes and comic book characters to choose from. Ultimately, I think I'd have to go with Superman. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Superman. The first movie I have memory of watching is the original Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve. But as I got older I started to appreciate it even more. I found Superman to be the Greek Tragedy of the comic book world. You're talking about a guy who never really got to know his birth parents, is always going to be an outsider to a world he protects and can only be killed by leftover debris from his home planet. And on top of all that, he chooses to use his powers for good. On the surface he may seem boring, but it's those layers underneath the steel exterior that really make him interesting. There have been really great actors to portray the Man of Steel. I have no doubt that Henry Cavill knocked it out of the ballpark but it would still be cool to be able to play the role. Maybe they can reboot 'Lois and Clark'? Dean Cain was part Asian like me so it can't be completely out of the question, right?
I think another cool character to play would be Eric Draven from 'The Crow'. Now, just to be clear. I think The Crow is one of the best graphic novel adaptations of all time and that the franchise should be left alone. Brandon Lee was my hero and someone I looked up to very much. The original 1994 movie is sacred and can't be beat. But, nonetheless, what a cool role that would be to play!
Oh and do Jedis count as superheroes? Because I would totally want to be a Jedi! How sweet would that be? I don't usually openly say what roles I want or what movies I want to be in but I have no shame in saying that I would absolutely love to be in Episode VII! Heck, I'll play a tree in the deep background of the Forest Moon of Endor if it meant being in Episode VII! Oh and did I mention I would love to be in Episode VII? (laughs)"
Hear that Abrams? Look no further than one of your Star Trek Into Darkness cast members when choosing a Jedi for Episode VII! Huge thanks to Jon for taking the time to answer our questions, and we wish him the best of luck with his upcoming projects.
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