Adam Brody: Why Hollywood won't cast him anymore

Adam Brody scored his big break playing Lane's sweet musician boyfriend Dave Rygalski on Gilmore Girls in 2002. But he became a household name a year later when he encapsulated the mid-2000s' cultural zeitgeist with his charismatic portrayal of Seth Cohen on The O.C. The iconic role, which earned the actor four Teen Choice Awards, cemented his place in pop culture history as TV's original king of nerdy-emo-hipsterdom.

When the hit Fox series went off the air in 2007, Brody seemed in perfect position to take over the entertainment industry as Hollywood's next go-to leading man. But he's actually been pretty quiet ever since. From passion projects and movie flops to smaller roles and a busy family life, there's a lot about Brody that people may have missed since he and Rachel Bilson's Summer Roberts tied the knot during the O.C.'s series finale.

So, let's answer the question on everyone's mind: Why won't Hollywood cast Adam Brody anymore?

He penned a comic book

After The O.C. went off the air, Brody immediately distanced himself from Hollywood to try his hand at comic book writing. In collaboration with writer-director Danny Bilson — aka Rachel Bilson's father — and late screenwriter Paul DeMeo, the actor co-wrote Red Menace. The DC Comics series centered on a Los Angeles hero called The Eagle, who's blacklisted during a trial held by Joseph McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s. 

"As much as I love comics, writing one wasn't something I ever thought about doing," Brody told TV Guide. "Danny brought it up, so I thought it would be fun, and it has been. I've had a blast." At the time, he had big plans for future projects, adding, "I sort of want to reinvent a lesser-known hero, someone who hasn't been given his due lately. I also think the more mortal he is powerwise, the more fun he is."

Unfortunately, Red Menace didn't find quite the following the trio had hoped for, and, after releasing six issues, Brody returned to acting.

His post-O.C. work went unnoticed

Due to the timing of the 2007-2008 writers' strike and the types of projects Brody chose during his transition into film, the momentum of his acting career effectively stalled after The O.C. After turning down the lead role in the short-lived, fan-favorite series Pushing Daisies, the actor pursued a handful of B-list movies, like In the Land of Women, Death in Love, and Jennifer's Body. Unfortunately, they were all critical and commercial duds.

Brody's most notable role during this time was a bit role as Deputy Hoss in 2011's Scream 4. "I have an affection for Scream," he told Entertainment Tonight in 2017. "My only regret about that was it was a small part. Fine. The problem was that I was in and out of Michigan for, like, two and a half months, which was annoying."

While these movies allowed the actor to continue working and honing his craft, they mostly went unnoticed and ultimately failed to catapult Brody into Hollywood superstardom.

His depressing Seth Cohen theory

Brody's career may have flown mostly under the radar since his days on The O.C., but that doesn't mean he's quite as nostalgic about the show as the rest of us.

"No, I don't [miss it]," the actor told the Huffington Post in 2014. "It was a wonderful time, but I'm significantly older." He added that he felt even less connected to his famous on-screen alter ego, Seth Cohen, saying, "That was a character from 2004, and it's very much of that time, and no, my interests don't lie there at all anymore."

That's, of course, totally fair. But it also might be why Brody's theory on what happened to Seth Cohen is so grim. "If I had to predict, I'd say Seth Cohen is dead," he told Nylon. "I think he'd be going down to Mexico and probably had a bad car accident. It wasn't any fault of his own, but yeah, knowing what I know now about Seth and his poor decision-making, that's my guess." 

Um, yikes?

He's notoriously private

After spending much of his 20s in the spotlight, Adam Brody understandably prefers to keep his personal life private. But the actor's high-profile relationship with fellow teen drama star and wife, Leighton Meester, eventually began to overshadow his professional endeavors.

"Is there any escape?" he said of the tabloid attention during an interview with The New Yorker in 2014. That same year, the couple got married in a secret ceremony, before welcoming their daughter, Arlo, in 2015. "I think the older we get, the less interest there will be," the actor continued. "So, time. You also make yourself scarce. We're homebodies."

Being a doting husband and father might keep Brody busy, but it's given him a newfound perspective for when it comes to navigating the entertainment industry. "Without seeming too corny, I'm the happiest I've ever been," he told Entertainment Tonight. "It's common knowledge that when you get married or start a family your priorities change, and that turned out to be a really good thing for me. ...It does allow me put less stock in my status as an actor and the town's opinion of me. I just have other priorities now."

His film work struggled to find its footing

Brody's luck in film seemed about to change in 2011 when he scored a starring role in Damsels in Distress. With a 75% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was a hit among critics and throughout the film festival circuit. "Damsels in Distress can sometimes feel mannered and outlandish," the site's general consensus read. "But it's redeemed by director Whit Stillman's oddball cleverness and Greta Gerwig's dryly funny performance." However, the quirky comedy didn't fare quite as well with audiences. As it only saw a limited release in 2012, it failed to make a splash at the box office.

Brody continued to land lead roles on the big screen, but critics panned his next group of movies, including an ill-fated adaptation of Neil LaBute's play Some Girl(s) and the adventure comedy Welcome to the Jungle. Both released in 2013, they earned a tepid 55% and a downright dismal 22% score on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. Ouch.

Amazon passed on The Cosmopolitans

Brody eventually returned to TV in 2013 with a number of guest spots and recurring roles on shows like House of Lies, The League, Burning Love, and New Girl, before he finally landed a lead role as Jimmy in Amazon's The Cosmopolitans

The project reunited the actor with writer-director Whit Stillman, but the smart dramedy's standalone pilot received mixed reviews in 2014. "In spite of its thinly sketched characters," Rotten Tomatoes' general consensus read, "The Cosmopolitans' study of young, entitled American socialites living abroad is given an endearing comedic touch by Whit Stillman."

While Amazon unfortunately opted not to pick it up to series, Stillman has since teased its potential return — with the hope of keeping Brody attached. Explaining that the studio had allowed him time to flesh out more scripts, he told Collider in 2016, "We'll keep the pilot, that's part of the story, but we'll be going a different place with it."

Billy & Billie was short-lived

In 2015, Adam Brody scored his first proper lead role on television since The O.C. in playwright Neil LaBute's Billy & Billie. The actor starred opposite Lisa Joyce on the DirecTV Audience Network series, which centered on a pair of stepsiblings and the consequences of their controversial romance. "[LaBute] surprised me," Brody told Entertainment Tonight. "I don't want to say [the show] was experimental, but it was very much like a play; incredibly talky."

The dramedy ran for 10 episodes and received generally positive reviews from critics. However, it unfortunately failed to truly find its audience and ended in a one-off series finale special the following year. "I had no illusions about it taking over," Brody told ET, explaining that the show's ultimate lack of commercial success didn't necessarily surprise him. "As much as I loved it and as much as I had a good time, I also can't and won't defend it in terms of critical response. That said, I'm very proud of it."

Is he being typecast?

Letting go of one of TV's most beloved teen drama characters can't be an easy task. But Brody, with his penchant for playing slightly nerdy, fast-talking characters, has remained so synonymous with Seth Cohen that he's run the risk of being typecast. "Like it or not, I've been accused of playing him ever since," he told the Huffington Post. "What can I say? My mannerisms are my mannerisms."

The actor might not be seen by some as leading man material, but if Brody has found himself being typecast, he's not too bothered by it. "I'm not worried about being typecast. More like, if you're a good actor, bad actor, success, failure, smart, stupid," he told Vulture in 2012, adding, "It's funny, everything I've done since [The O.C.], I'm actually really proud of and I think speaks to my personality, and I did them because I really wanted to or business-wise it made sense. But would I love to be busier? Yeah, yeah certainly."

He's turning it around

Adam Brody may have spent much of his post-O.C. career out of the spotlight, but it looks like his on-screen prospects are shifting back into place.

In 2016, the actor landed a lead role in Crackle's organized crime drama series StartUp. Starring Martin Freeman, the show, which was renewed for a third season in 2017, also marked Brody's first foray into producing. "It's something your agent gets you when they can't give you any more money," he jokingly told Entertainment Tonight. "But I have come to produce the show in a real capacity now, in that I've spent a lot of time in the writer's room."

On the big screen, Brody is set to appear in the upcoming thriller The Wanting. He was also reportedly cast in the Zachary Levi-led DC movie Shazam. At the time of this writing, both films are looking toward releases in 2019, so it looks like Brody's career is back on track!