There are certain minor or niche celebrity stories that I spend an inordinate amount of my time thinking about. I know, frankly, far too much about the Summer of Hiddleswift and the great love triangle of Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds. Sometimes, there are tales too ludicrous or perfectly engineered for gossip consumers like myself to ignore. Everything clicks and you just have to know everything, then ensure all your friends know as much about this nonsense as you do. Excuse me, have I bothered you lately about my encyclopedic knowledge on the pyramid tomb Nic Cage bought for himself in New Orleans? This is one of those stories.
By 2006, actor Adrien Brody had an Oscar under his belt for the Roman Polanski film The Pianist, making him, at 29, the youngest man to ever win Best Actor. He had also appeared in a selection of projects, including the exceedingly high-profile Peter Jackson remake of King Kong. He was probably at the peak of his fame but still somewhat low-key for an Oscar winner who headlined the fifth highest-grossing movie of 2005. At this point in his career, he had also started dating Elsa Pataky, a Spanish actress whose biggest roles in the U.S. were in the schlocky B-movie-esque Beyond Re-Animator and Snakes on a Plane. His fame greatly eclipsed hers but they were never going to be Brangelina. The pair were, however, happy to milk their romance for the tabloids if called upon to do so. So, when Brody decided to treat Pataky for her 31st birthday in 2007, he did what any self-respecting man would do and bought her a castle.
Okay, to be more specific, he bought her a 19th-century farm in Central New York state that he would later remodel to look more like a castle, but still, the headlines were there and they were happy to play it up for the gossip magazines.
Buying a castle is expensive stuff and Brody had clearly made enough coin to buy the thing in the first place, but clearly the money that Hello! magazine offered for the exclusive 35-page spread of their romantic investment was too good to turn down. The shoot is a level of cheesy that one would typically only find on Fabio-heavy romance novel covers, minus the mullet. They embrace on horseback! He sexily reads from a script in his admittedly gorgeous bathtub! They laugh over an array of vegetables on their kitchen table! Pataky and Brody sultrily on a digger in full evening-wear, complete with top hat, as they survey their flat green lawn! I too love to look nonchalant and besotted with the man who BOUGHT ME A CASTLE!
I am and will forever be obsessed by the time Adrien Brody bought a castle for Elsa Pataky, then they did a 35-page spread exclusive for Hello! about it, then she dumped him for Chris Hemsworth. pic.twitter.com/JAvBajk0yT— Kayleigh Donaldson (@Ceilidhann) December 8, 2019
Damn, Wes Anderson must pay his actors handsomely.
Adrien Brody is a weird celebrity to dissect in terms of star studies. He’s often pointed to as one of the more recent examples of the so-called Oscar curse, mostly because his career since his win has been, at best, middling and unspectacular. Indeed, it could be argued that the performances he gave before he won the Oscar are far more interesting and daring than those that came after. He seemed to struggle to find a niche once he became A-List adjacent, even though he had the sort of malleable skills that lend themselves well to a variety of acting styles and celebrity types. He was handsome in a way that bordered on conventional but not boring, he certainly had the chops to be a leading man on top of a quirky character actor, and he had a burgeoning collaborative relationship with director Wes Anderson. He got close to some very big roles too. He openly expressed his interest in playing The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and was linked to the role of Spock in the J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek. It would be understandable if he chose to never do another big action-focused movie after King Kong but he’s been in plenty of, frankly, mediocre to bad high-concept projects that one can’t imagine would be priorities for an Oscar winner unless he owned a castle and needed money for renovations.
The castle can’t be the only reason he did films like that, although I imagine it was a driving force at times. Perhaps the industry simply didn’t know how to categorize him and he took any project that came his way to find out what Hollywood wanted from Adrien Brody the Actor and Celebrity. Of course, maybe Hollywood just didn’t want to deal with him anymore. Remember when he did this on SNL, without Lorne Michaels’s permission, then got banned from the show?
Yeah, I don’t think the ‘Oscar curse’ destroyed his career more than his own hubris and pig-headed stupidity.
As for Elsa Pataky, she’s doing fine! A year after this photoshoot, she broke up with Brody and was all of a sudden dating then married to a former Australian soap star called Chris Hemsworth. The couple now has three children and, aside from some small roles on film and TV, is best known as one of the ensemble in the Fast and the Furious franchise. She posts lots of mega-adorable images of her family on Instagram and seems pretty happy to be a Hollywood wife, showing off just how utterly besotted with her Hemsworth clearly is. Whatever the case and however she felt about that castle, ultimately she certainly won this game. Good for her! I wonder if she has a copy of that issue of Hello! that I can borrow…
Header Image Source: Getty Images.