Adam Brody Feels All the Feels With Surfing, ‘Avatar’ and Cate Le Bon

“Shazam!,” the 2019 DC Universe comic-adventure about some foster kids and their adult superhero alter egos, and its new sequel, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” might not change the arc of Adam Brody’s career exactly — though there are perks to being in a hit.

“I’ve been acting for so long now but have barely set foot in any sort of big action movie,” said Brody, one of the stars of the FX series “Fleishman Is in Trouble.” “Being on something of this size is a thrill, just the huge setups and huge wire rigs, and you’re being chased by a dragon. It’s a big part of the Hollywood acting experience in the modern age that I really hadn’t got to play with before.”

“Fury of the Gods,” opening Friday, finds the teens — including Freddy Freeman, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, with Brody as his grown version — fully endowed with otherworldly powers. Then the Daughters of Atlas (Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler) show up, and they want their magic back.

But “Fury of the Gods” isn’t the only action Brody has seen recently. In an upcoming remake of “The River Wild” for Netflix, he’ll be occupying the same space, if not the same character, as the menace played in the 1994 original by Kevin Bacon. Brody’s wife, Leighton Meester, and their friend Taran Killam join him as distrusting siblings on a raft ride to hell.

In a video call from Los Angeles, where he and Meester live with their daughter and son, Brody talked about venturing into the trenches with “Hardcore History,” revering Frank Black and listening to NPR in lieu of college. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.



I’m from San Diego, and a big part of the beach for me is surfing. I was obsessed with it, and from junior high and high school that was my main focus. Then I moved to L.A. to try acting, and I ditched it for well over a decade. In my early 30s, I started dipping my toe because I missed the beach environment. And surf has slowly but steadily taken over my life again. My wife has picked it up and is obsessed. I’m at this really lovely place where the two halves of my life have converged.



I could eat them every day. I do enjoy this gourmet artisanal doughnut revolution that’s been going on for the last decade. I don’t like the chain ones — they seem so processed and lacking some flavor. But probably my favorite, even more than the really nice gourmet ones, are those strip-mall family-owned ones, usually Vietnamese- or Cambodian-owned but not always. They tend to be a little lighter, so you can take down a couple. My eye is very drawn to sprinkles. Pretty hard for me to say no.


Dan Carlin’s ‘Hardcore History’ Podcast

He’s always like, “Now remember, I’m not a historian.” I’m like, “But you are a historian. Why are you talking to me about this for 20 hours, then?” Every episode is five hours long, and one comes out every six months. “Blueprint for Armageddon” on World War I, which is the first one I listened to, blew me away.


Frank Black’s ‘Teenager of the Year’

This is probably the only album or musician that I loved as a teenager that I still love. It’s not even that I listen to him a lot anymore, but I still revere him. It has a real irreverent, comedic and punk element to it. And he sings about so many subjects I think are great: California, space and astral planes and different dimensions, the Mariana Trench and the depths of the ocean.


Cate Le Bon

She sounds like nobody else. I find the up-tempo stuff very groovy. At the same time it’s so off-kilter. There’s descending notes in minor chords and drone-y saxophone. And I find her singing emotional, and yet she’s Bowie-esque, distant and unknowable. Not a false note in the entire discography.



I’ve always been pretty talented at napping. It doesn’t have to be that long, but there has to be one. I have less time to do it since I’ve been a parent. I’m sort of sounding scarily like my dad when I say that. I picture him asleep with a Kindle on his chest. But my favorite thing in a leisure-filled day: I’m going to start to read lying down, I’m going to close the book, take a nap, wake up and keep reading.



I didn’t go to college, and I kind of consider it my alma mater. I like their breadth of coverage. It’s local, it’s national, it’s global. I like most of the personalities on it, and I find something about their — it’s not monotone, but it’s soft tones — very reassuring. It’s a calm, assured personality, giving you what I think is a well-rounded coverage. I’m sure some people would disagree, but they’re wrong.


‘The Crown’

These are some of the best scenes on television. You have two great actors, and a monster scene for them to do with a real beginning, middle and end. I also am a big fan of the formatting, taking the historical record and bending it to a theme and an arc versus a cliffhanger. They’re really doing their own mini three-act movie in each episode.


‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

I say this as someone who didn’t even like the first one. But I have a retroactive appreciation for it now because I like the second one so much. I took my daughter, who’s 7. I was like, “It’s over three hours long, and I’ve heard mixed things, but let’s go see, and if we want to leave, we’ll leave.” And I proceeded to have one of the best times I’ve had at the movies in decades. For starters, I cried — we both did — and I haven’t cried at a movie since “Titanic.”


‘Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter’

My daughter and I watched the cartoon series that Goro Miyazaki did, and then we read the book. It’s a year in the life of this 9-year-old girl who lives in an abandoned fortress with her mother and her loving but volatile father and his group of robbers in medieval Renaissance times. She starts to explore the forest and then meets a boy her age. It’s so in touch with nature and the cycles of life, her very first pangs of love and her growing independence. And at the end of every chapter, the writer, Astrid Lindgren, had a phrase or two that really got to me — simple and yet emotional.