Brody's role in the 2002 Roman Polanski film, in which he played a Jewish-Polish man trying to escape the Holocaust, earned him a 'Best Actor' Oscar. However, the Midnight in Paris star said that the ramifications of such a gruelling part haunted him long after shooting had finished.
He told The Guardian: "[It was] all-consuming. For a good year after, I was probably seriously depressed.
"There were severe transitions that I put myself through physically and emotionally... I shot it when I was 27, and that was my real awakening and entrance into adulthood, that responsibility, and awareness of my own good fortune that I had taken for granted."
He added that the aftermath of filming The Pianist also helped him decide to venture into less demanding Hollywood blockbusters such as Predators and King Kong, saying: "The key is to somehow get yourself to a place where it feels as real as it can feel, and you can't repeat that...
"But it's so precarious, that place, it's so hard to find, and it takes all that work to get to it, and then it's not something you just turn on and repeat, and so, yes, I like things that are very different for me and cause me to have to stretch.
"[King Kong] was pretty fun! It was harder than I anticipated. I wanted to do it because I thought it would be fun, and kind of a departure from all the weighty things that I'm attracted to."
Brody can next be seen in the Tony Kaye-directed drama Detachment, which is released in the UK on July 13.
Watch the first five minutes of Detachment below: