OSCAR-WINNER he may be - but when aliens and monsters come calling, is Adrien Brody really the first guy you'd ask for?
Softly-spoken, thin as a rake, and best known for playing the frail, emaciated hero of e Pianist, Adrien is stepping into the boots and tanktop of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a sequel to one of Arnie's biggest early hits, Predator.
Back in 87, Arnie and his platoon of commandos had abs of steel and legs like treetrunks when they fought an invisible killer alien in the Guatemalan jungle.
Adrien admitted: "I was not the most likely choice."
And he added, a little unnecessarily: "I obviously do not have the physique of Schwarzenegger."
The latest in the franchise, Predators, features Adrien Brody as mercenary Royce, who is abducted by the aliens and released on an unfamiliar planet along with other human abductees as prey for a new breed of Predator.
Adrien piled on 25lbs for the part.
"That's a lot on my frame but it's all lean muscle," said the 6ft1in actor. "But in the original film, it wasn't Schwarzenegger's body that allowed him to overcome the alien - he outsmarted it.
"But he sure was cool to look at."
"I saw the original when I was 14 and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get this kind of role."
Previous sequels about the murderous creatures have seen them face up to the other franchise giant Alien, in Alien vs Predator and Alien vs Predator: Requiem.
This latest adventure is more of a reboot, with the blood-thirsty critters hunting humans for sport.
Of course, Adrien is taking all of this quite seriously. To prepare for his monster battles, he spent hours in the gym and on set the intense method actor locked himself away from the rest of the cast in a raindrenched part of Hawaii.
Adrien said: "I studied military manuals and learning tactics.
"I was spending time alone in the jungle. I was in this almost prehistoric-looking rainforest, and I slept there. It was just amazing."
Yet while the movie role is tough, Adrien reckons that given the choice between battling 7ft aliens or growing up in his poor New York neighbourhood, fighting vicious monsters from outer space is the easier option
"In the late 70s and early 80s, New York was a very different place," said the 37-year-old.
"It was much tougher then, and that's part of what shaped me."
Nowadays, however, he admits he's a bit of a softie and the actor, who is currently dating Mad Men star January Jones, says he'd love to play a "big romantic'' role.
Brought up in a working-class neighbourhood, Brody was the only son of a photographer and a history teacher. They weren't the poorest family in the area but they never had a new car, and had a tight budget for food and clothes.
No one he knew was an actor, so his first taste of the stage came in his teens when he put together a magic act for kids, performing tricks as the Amazing Adrien.
"I would do younger children's birthday parties," he said.
"The one trick I could do almost anywhere was to break a pencil with a dollar.
"It was destructive, and also cool. Magic was my first foray into acting. There's improvisation and you have to reel people in - it's a good stepping stone."
At 14, he decided he wanted to become an actor, and enrolled in drama school. After 10 years taking small lm and TV roles he thought he'd landed his big break in 1998 when he got a lead role in three-hour epic The Thin Red Line.
But when he went to see the nished film, he discovered the eccentric director had left his performance on the cutting room fioor. That was disappointing, but worse was that nobody told Adrien, who took his parents to see the film and was left devastated.
Finally, when he was 29, he won the part of Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, who survived the Holocaust partly through his skill at playing the piano.
On set, director Roman Polanski had him lugging around dustbins full of Polish encyclopedias, and the already skinny Brody starved himself to emaciation for the role.
"When I got back from shooting The Pianist, I went to get a pizza after being deprived sugar and carbohydrates and I almost cried," recalled the actor.
But the tough regime paid off when he became the youngest man ever to win the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Memorably, when he took to the stage to accept the award, he turned it into another surprising performance by planting a smacker of a kiss on presenter Halle Berry.
He insists that his showstopping smooch was "never planned. It just happened".
However, his onscreen intensity is well-known. When filming The Jacket in Scotland, he insisted on fully experiencing his character's discomfort of being trussed up in a strait-jacket and shoved inside a morgue drawer. Even when he wasn't filming!
Many scenes were shot at the former Bangour Village psychiatric unit in Broxburn, built before World War I. "They'd had exorcisms there and the grounds and the building retained the energy of what had gone on through the years," said Adrien.
"We filmed at night so it was rainy and dark all the time. Very surreal. And now it's been bought and turned into flats. Can you believe that?"
Later this month Adrien can also be seen in sci-fi horror Splice, where his Dr Frankenstein scientist stitches human and animal DNA together to create a monster.
"My friends just loved the movie. They were rooting for my character the whole time - which was a little disturbing, considering what he does over the course of the movie," he said.