Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris has given us a lot. It’s given us Owen Wilson at his best, and shown him to be a superb vessel for Allen’s undying spirit to work through. It’s given us Marion Cotillard at her most beautiful and charming, and proven the First Lady of France can act. But more than anything else it’s given us Adrien Brody playing Salvador Dalí.
Find me the filmgoer who enjoyed a scene in this wonderful movie more than Brody’s outrageous cameo and I’ll show you a liar, a madman or a fool.
Brody’s scenery-inhaling performance totally eclipsed his fellow actors, portraying Luis Buñuel and Man Ray, and practically pushed Wilson, the film’s star, out of the frame. With larger-than-life bombast, Brody’s (and Allen’s) tribute to the sublime surrealist brings us to one obvious (and yet somehow thus far ignored) conclusion: the world is ready for a Dalí biopic starring Adrien Brody.
And what a biopic that would be. Dalí’s life is full of fascinating contradictions: his surrealist leanings clashed time and again with his Catholic heritage; he struggled with his national identity as a Spaniard during the Franco era while travelling the world as an icon of the modern art world; his work varied from the avant-garde to the surprisingly commercial.
Add to that a tale of a strong (and lasting) love affair with Gala Dalí, potential for magnificent special effects incorporating his artworks and even a snapshot of movements in film history (and who in Hollywood does not love films about film history?!).
If restaging sequences from his terrifying and controversial works with Buñuel, L’Age d’Or or Un Chien Andalou, doesn’t interest you, just look at what he did in Hollywood working with the likes of Hitchcock and Disney:
…and the sublime.
And that’s not to mention his interactions with Andy Warhol (another figure of the 20th Century art scene who cinema has struggled to capture) – this anecdote tells how not even the legendary pop artist could not control the surrealist superstar (then in his 60s).
And what about Brody? Do you fear he could not pull off a feature of this nature? His acting chops have been proven in The Thin Red Line and The Pianist – the latter for which he remains the youngest-ever recipient of the Best Actor Oscar. And the same physical silliness he displayed in Midnight in Paris sustained him for the duration of The Darjeeling Limited, a film he mercilessly stole (again, curiously, from Owen Wilson).
So look at it this way, and I’m talking now to those people with money and not enough ideas in Hollywood: you have the story, and you have the star (and proof he can play the role). What more do you need?
I hope my readers will join me now in demanding Dalí without delay. Who’s with me?