Josh Brolin Shares Amazing Tips for Aspiring Actors

Project Casting

Josh Brolin is making Hollywood history. For the weekend of May 18 to the 20th, he was both in the #1 movie in the U.S. box office for Deadpool 2 and the #2 movie Avengers: Infinity War, with both movies making more than $150 million over that three day weekend.

The Oscar-nominated actor is possibly more popular now than he has ever been, though to hear him discuss his acting career, Brolin discusses his acting career as one failure to another.

When it comes to failure Brolin explains, “That’s my whole career. And that’s not a joke. People have said to me, even me doing stage and that kind of stuff… all actors have their worst nightmare. I’ve had every worst nightmare come true. In a good way, in hindsight. Not while it was happening, but in hindsight.”

Brolin added, “I’ve forgotten major monologues on stage, I’ve had props that weren’t there that were supposed to be there. Lighting problems where we had to start a play over, and when we finally got someone over from New York to critique what was a really good play, it fucked up the entire night. To movies that were supposed to work that didn’t work.”

“In my experience, I think that’s a really good thing, because it’s kept me from – even though I may come across with some arrogance – having any true arrogance whatsoever. Because I’ve been humbled too many times to believe it’s not always right around the corner. Even right now, by the way,” Brolin continued.

That said, looking at Brolin’s resume, he has worked on a wide range of projects. But, that is how he sees his career, as a matter of moving from one role to the next.

“What do they say? The pinnacle of wisdom is to treat everything with a beginner’s mind. I don’t really follow that, but that’s the thing. People say what’s the similarity between you doing Avengers, Cable, No Country For Old Men. There’s no throughline to any of it other than I’m acting in any of them,” Brolin explained.

Brolin added, “For me, there’s no difference between doing AvengersNo CountryMilkThe Goonies. It’s all dealt with and dived into in the same way. It’s a new part, it scares me, I don’t think I can pull it off. I’m very into prep, confronting my own fear and insecurities about being able to pull something off. That’s never changed.”

Josh Brolin says he does not see a major difference in what he did 30 years ago versus what he is doing now. It is part of the reason why he tells producers he wants to do more avant grade work.

“I’ve said it before, but people have said ‘what was it like doing C minus work when you’re doing A work now?’. And I say ‘who the fuck said it was C minus work?!’. It was the best work I was able to do at that time, and I now I continue to do the best work I’m able to do. The difference is, which I still adhere to and when I go off this necessity of working with great filmmakers, because it’s a great protection… when I don’t do that, I see the result. The result is usually not very good,” Brolin explained.

Brolin added, “Doing these tentpole movies… we’re talking about doing Quasimodo again. It’s something I’ve been developing for a long time. It’s something I was going to do with Zhang Yimou. But then [the studio]didn’t approve him at the time, and so it kind of fell apart. We’re revisiting the idea of doing that as bigger film, and I love that. Why would you say ‘I want to do this as a guerrilla film, a practical film?’ Having experienced Deadpool and The Avengers, I’m like why would you not want to take advantage of the technical proficiencies now? This cutting edge time? To be able to do Quasimodo climbing up in Notre Dame. I love the idea of that.”

Brolin admits he is still afraid of not being good enough. Especially in a movie with a huge cast like Avengers: Infinity War. He reflects on how he got picked to play the villain among a cast of actors he respects.

“There’s intimidation with all of it. When I worked with the Coens on No Country, and on True Grit, and on Hail Caesar!, I remember going onto Caesar the first day and being terrified, thinking I couldn’t pull it off! But I knew I had the confidence of my guys for the most part. I don’t know, man. I don’t know why I don’t feel that kind of pressure. I always feel the pressure to perform, and to utilize my imagination, and whatever skill that I have. But I think the difference between the $1m film and the $500m film is the same to me. Other than I look across the thing and I see Chris Hemsworth and go ‘what the fuck is he doing there?!’ on this one million dollar film!” Brolin added.

Brolin admitted, “When I was doing Avengers, and sitting in the chair. There are all these actors I’ve worked with, who I’ve known for a long time. There’s Don Cheadle, there’s Ruffalo, there’s Scarlett Johansson, there’s Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth. I’m like, what the fuck am I doing here? How did I get here? That’s more the awe moment than doing the work. Because you see everybody struggling doing the work.”

Josh Brolin reflects on his acting career when he hears compliments from others. One problem with actors hearing praise is allowing them to never push themselves in their next project. Brolin says, “It affects you when somebody tells you that you’re great. It affects you when somebody tells you that you’re not so great. As long as I keep all that very conscious. My biggest fear is believing the hype. Becoming worse and worse and worse at what I do. I’ve seen it happen a lot, and I don’t like that phenomenon. I don’t like that reality.”


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