“You’re only as strong as your next move.”
As the tagline for John Carney’s 2014 film “Begin Again,” this statement foreshadowed a stride forward in recent SUNY New Paltz alum Ian Brodsky’s acting career.
“Begin Again” premiered in theaters worldwide on Friday, July 11 and stars Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Adam Levine and other well-known actors and musicians. Brought to life by the same director as the award-winning film “Once,” this film tells the story of how the lives of very different people can be brought together or torn apart by music.
Brodsky plays the role of Malcom, a violinist who was chosen to play in an impromptu band formed by Ruffalo and Knightely’s characters, Dan and Gretta, respectively. As Malcom, Brodsky performs and travels with the band throughout New York City to record Gretta’s music demo. The on-screen band would actually later develop into a real, live performing band.
“I filmed one day in Brooklyn and the rest of the days were throughout Manhattan and that was awesome because we filmed right in the middle of Central Park, Washington Square, in an alley way and in a subway station,” Brodsky said. “It was a tight-knit band feeling, five insanely different people, six including Keira. There was minimal to no ego which made for a creative vibe.”
In May 2013, Brodsky graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a contract major in music and theatre performance but he had been casted for “Begin Again” for his role as Malcom the summer after his third year. Having spent much of his time at New Paltz training in musical theater as a self-proclaimed “chorus boy” Brodsky said what he least expected was to do after graduating was star in a film.
“I had an audition Monday, a call-back Friday and I got the offer the next Wednesday,” Brodsky said. “It was such an awesome experience, especially to be in the process of my education when I was still learning, and still figuring myself out as an artist—because that is what college is for— and to see that it was working on my end was awesome.”
Brodsky said he learned a lot about collaboration right away through his coursework in the theatre arts department, but for his role as a minor character, he did a lot of development on his own. Though he was able to collaborate with the director and his other castmates he pointed out that “it’s something you need to bring upon yourself.”
Six months after graduating, Brodksy moved to New York City, where he starred in “Piggy Nation The Musical,” an off-Broadway production which ran from February to May this year. In April, he attended the “Begin Again” premiere at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, at which he said saw the film with new eyes.
“I saw it again in Tribeca after a long day and it was the first time my family saw the film—it just changed everything and made me fall in love with the film all over again,” Brodsky said. “That’s the kind of musical film that I love. It has very honest views about music and I’m so proud of it. It was a movie that I would’ve seen even if I wasn’t a part of it. It’s cool to see that people feel the same way.”
During his undergraduate years, Brodsky played a major role in campus theater productions and the New Paltz Dance Association. He said he learned a lot at college that helped him to take on his role as a minor character but more importantly, as an artist in New York City.
“I’ve been really lucky that since graduating I’ve been able to work on several projects, all of which have been fun. I get to do what I love and get paid most of the times,” Brodsky said. “I will always say that I had a very spoiled first acting experience and first job. It’s all headed in right direction.”