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Josh Brolin at "Times Talk"
TheTimesCenter
242 West 41st Street
January 10, 2007

Written by Allison Ford

Josh Brolin
Photo Credit: Janet Mayer / PR Photos

 

Josh Brolin has had quite a year. At a "TimesTalk" on January 10th, as part of the New York Times' "Arts and Leisure Week", the affable and low-profile actor opened up about lying to directors, wardrobe malfunctions, and his recent string of star turns. When choosing jobs, he "doesn't like to do the jobs [he'll] regret later," and in 2007, he fortuitously chose four roles that have garnered him acclaim from critics and audiences alike.


Josh Brolin in No Country for Old Men

His best known role of the year was as welder Llewelyn Moss in the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men. Brolin first became familiar with the story while sitting in a bar with actor/playwright Sam Shepard, when Shepard gave him the Cormac MacCarthy novel on which the film was based. Shepard had heard that the Coens were interested in a film version of the book, and mused to Brolin that he hoped they wouldn't "fuck it up." Not only did Brolin end up starring in that adaptation, but the picture has been hailed as the best film of the year by several film critics' associations and is a leading contender for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Brolin revealed that he never anticipated No Country to be his breakout role, and he talked about the experience of being involved with the film, from working with attack dogs to developing his character's laconic Texas drawl.

He started work on Ridley Scott's American Gangster four days after the wrap of No Country. In the true-crime film, Brolin played an ultra-corrupt detective opposite Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Besides Scott, he worked with three other prominent directors in 2007, and felt that what they all had in common was that they "know which take to pick."

Despite his ease in slipping into such disparate characters, none of the roles he played last year drew from any of his own personal experiences. Although he grew up working on a California ranch, his father is actor James Brolin, and Josh knew he wanted to be an actor from his teens. He discussed the reverse-nepotism that hindered his early career, which took off when he played the role of older brother Brand in The Goonies (1985). Brolin professed that nowadays, he cares much more about the work he does than how he appears while doing it, an outlook that is evident in his other 2007 film roles, as a menacing husband in Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror (part of the Grindhouse double feature), and as a schlubby police chief (opposite Charlize Theron) in In the Valley of Elah.

Brolin also discussed his passions for writing and directing, including his latest short film, X, which stars his own daughter. Some of his future projects include developing the short into a full-length feature film, as well as starring in Gus Van Sant's Milk, the biopic of slain San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, in which Brolin will play assassin Dan White.

Brolin seems to be one of the lucky few stars not to have been ground down by the gears of the Hollywood machine. He remains positive and easygoing about the feasts and famines of a long career in show business. He believes that whenever a door closes, a window opens somewhere. He credits his 2007 successes to "serendipity," and says, "Wherever there's a hole, it'll be filled. With gold, or with shit, it'll get filled."


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