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Former 'O.C.' actor moves to big screen

The Baltimore Sun

The two condos that Adam Brody owns were easily affordable while he starred as Seth Cohen on The O.C. Now that he's an unemployed film actor, he concedes that the condos have become "a bit of a drain." He's thinking about selling them.

Exit: steady television paycheck. Enter: purgatory between gigs.

"I love the schedule, but there's something about sitting in your backyard, hanging out with your friends on Monday, and you don't have a job," he says in an interview to promote In the Land of Women, which opened Friday. "It's certainly a little bit of anxiety, but I think I'll get over it."

The O.C., which had its premiere in 2003, hooked young viewers with its tableau of photogenic rich kids in Newport Beach, Calif. Its last episode aired in February after a ratings plunge.

Brody, 27, has politely declined a few inquiries about getting back into television. He is committed to movies for now. He'll wait to see if movies return the favor.

In the Land of Women features Brody as a soft-porn TV writer who visits his ailing grandma (Olympia Dukakis) to heal from a crushed romance. He tries writing a legitimate screenplay about high school.

But mostly he revels in the crackling female energy around him, especially a 40-something mom (Meg Ryan) and her teenage daughter (Kristen Stewart) next door.

It's a modestly budgeted movie along the lines of Garden State, and for Brody, it was a sensible fit.

"It was good to be the guy but not the guy where it's so huge," he continues. "I didn't feel tons of pressure."

In the Land of Women reminded Brody that being a freelancer has its professional perks. For one, he gets to grow up on camera, just like he has been doing off camera. "Carter is a natural progression from Seth," Brody says of his Women character. "He's a bit older, more mature. I wouldn't mind heading more in that direction. I played a teenager for so long, and I'm not. I wouldn't mind playing a professional with some sort of adult responsibilities and worries."

Convincing casting folks to see beyond his small-screen persona has been far less an obstacle than the other vagaries of vying for a part. Even when Brody masters an audition, the role often goes to the guy who had a movie out last week, he says. Trying to figure out what each project wants is fruitless.

"There are so many good actors, and it is so of-the-moment," he says. "I'll read for the role, and that's it. I don't want to be a member of a club that won't have me as a member. I don't try too hard in that sense."

Although he has two more movies out this year - Smiley Face and The Ten - Brody hardly calls it a make-or-break moment. Both movies are smaller than Land of Women, and he is not the lead in either.

He recently accrued more mainstream film experience with supporting roles in Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) and Thank You for Smoking (2006).

He built his resume in television. In 1999, he moved to L.A. from his native San Diego and, soon after, auditions bore fruit. He played actor Barry Williams in the TV movie Growing Up Brady and snagged repeat gigs on Gilmore Girls and Now What? on MTV.

Now he's after film of all sizes, all types. "At least for a while," he says, "at least while I can get 'em."

Brody is dabbling on the business side, too. He produced "from afar" a remake of Revenge of the Nerds, which was filming when the production was shut down. He called it a debacle, but said he was not close enough to the movie to sift out the accurate story of what happened.

It was a tough winter. Around the same time The O.C. was nearing the end, his relationship with O.C. co-star Rachel Bilson went kaput. As a public service to his more enthusiastic fans, we are happy to report that he remains unattached.

"I'm not dating seriously," he says. "I'm sort of going where the river takes me. I don't have a goal of a serious thing. At the same time, if it happens tomorrow, I'd be for it. I just follow my heart in that department."

Meanwhile, Brody still has multiple dwellings. But like his film career, his property portfolio is a work in progress.

Says Brody: "There's something to be said for stability financially."

Ron Dicker is a special contributor to the Hartford Courant.

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