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The Surprising Superhero That Influenced Adrien Brody's Clean - Exclusive

Adrien Brody has played tough guys before (see: 2010's "Predators") but he's mostly known for more nuanced performances, like his Oscar-winning role in "The Pianist" and various Wes Anderson films. Now, he finally feels like he's found a role where he can bring the two together, in the self-produced film "Clean," which Brody also co-wrote and even scored.

In "Clean," which is out now in theaters and on demand, the title character — a New York garbageman nicknamed Clean — seeks to make peace with his violent, drug-addled past. When a young girl who reminds him of his daughter gets caught up in the wrong crowd, he must embrace his inner demons to save her. That's when a lean, mean Brody, who calls it an "understatement to say this was a passion project," turns into a one-man killing machine.

Despite the ultraviolence, it's a character that Brody — who was rumored to be in the running to play the Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight" — envisions as a modern-day superhero. During an exclusive interview with Looper, he revealed which comic book crusader he worked a little bit of into "Clean."

Adrien Brody sees Clean as his version of Batman

While Brody's character, Clean, wears a hoodie by day and wields an industrial pipe wrench by night, the actor has no qualms about equating him with arguably the biggest superhero out there: Batman.

"Clean is my version of that," says Brody. "Clean is broke Batman. He's the guy who is out there, whittling away and fighting crime, and doing it with very meager means, and without the machine behind him."

Beyond just Batman, the worlds that both Marvel and DC Comics have created are ones that Brody greatly admires.

"I think that is a remarkable space, as is the way that both Marvel and DC have managed to create these worlds with such creativity and nuance and afford actors a chance to exist in that space," he says. "Whether they're playing a hero, a superhero, or an arch villain, they're wonderfully complex. I love the approach, and it's such an amazing thing to witness. It's a phenomenon. So, yes, I admire and appreciate it ... I love the space. I love the genre. I love how powerful that is for an audience, and, yeah, I can relate to it."

"Clean" is now playing in select theaters and is available for digital rental or purchase.