Brady Corbet is not your typical young Hollywood actor. For starters, he lives in New York and attends opera openings. This season, he appears in not one but two new films: the psychological thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene with Elizabeth Olsen, which Corbet describes as Polanski-esque, and the highly anticipated Melancholia, directed by the Oscar nominee Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark), which raised more than a little controversy at the Cannes Film Festival.
“I play a family member at the wedding of Alexander Skarsgård to Kirsten Dunst,” he says. “Then things get really weird; there is a lot of strangeness in the movie.”
Tonight, however, Corbet’s plans are decidedly less sinister; he’ll be dressing in Dior Homme for the season premiere of the Metropolitan Opera’s Anna Bolena. “I like ballet much more,” he says, admitting that his date is a ballerina he met earlier in the week.
Then again, Corbet has always been sure of his tastes. “The few times that I agreed to work on something that wasn’t suited to my taste and sensibility, I regretted it,” says the actor, who got his start in films playing Mason Freeland in Thirteen, starring Evan Rachel Wood. “I am very lucky to have worked on projects that I am proud of as soon as I got to Hollywood with inspirational directors like Catherine Hardwicke, Michael Haneke, and Gregg Araki.”
Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Corbet moved to Los Angeles with his mother when he was 13; five years later he was dividing his time between Paris and New York to be with his then-girlfriend. When that relationship ended, he moved to Manhattan full-time. Today the 23-year-old has several other independent projects in the works. “I am not ready to sell out—don’t know why, maybe I never will,” he says. “There is a certain place for silly celebrity-ness; I do not sit comfortably in that arena. I have no desire to work in traditional television. Granted, I wouldn’t mind making the kind of money those actors do, but I have to stay true to the kind of work that I can be proud of. My inspirations are definitely high art.”
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