Josh Brolin on Hail, Caesar! and Marvels Modern-day Studio System

Josh Brolin answers the phone using a whisper.


I laugh and ask if we’re planning to do the entire interview in a whisper. “Among the best to make things as creepy as possible,” Brolin chuckles.

Brolin’s unusual custom wasn’t creepy, but it it truly was a surprise — something the actual actor has become specially good at delivering onscreen. After years working as (in their his words) a “blue-collar actor,” his occupation got a major improve from the Coen brothers’ cast them in their Oscar-winning thriller No Country Pertaining to Old Men. Although No Country made Brolin a movie star, he’s continued for making unpredictable choices, featuring in films since diverse as W. (exactly where he gave a great impressively nuanced performance because the 43rd President of the United States), Milk (which often earned him his first Oscar nomination), and Inherent Vice (just watch this). In between, he / she even makes looks as Thanos, the ultimate theif in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (after various cameos, he’ll play a significant role in Avengers: Infinity War in 2018).

Brolin reunited with the Coens because of their remake of True Grit, and now they’re also back together again for Hail, Caesar! any hilarious comedy about 1950s Hollywood. Brolin performs Eddie Mannix, an executive at Capitol Photos, a major studio together with several major problems that need fixing. Fundamental among them: Capitol’s biggest star, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) may be kidnapped, and a mysterious party known as “The Future” wants $100,000 for their safe return.

With the particular “creepy” formalities out of the way, Brolin and that i got down to business, talking about how this individual created his sort of Eddie Mannix (who’s loosely with different real figure connected with Hollywood history), whether he thinks although have been happy employed as an actor in the flick industry of the 50s, and if he thinks comparisons between Marvel Studios and the previous studio system regarding the Hail, Caesar! era are valid.

I learn Eddie Mannix was a real guy inside 1950s Hollywood, however tell me where your Eddie Mannix originated in. What was the inspiration for the way he looks as well as walks?

The walk is how I imagined the genuine Eddie to be, based on the images I saw involving him. He’s had a similar simian build if you ask me, you know? Kind of that will caveman way that he or she presented himself and displayed himself. What i’m saying is he was a rather brutal guy via what I read. My partner and i loved that element of it. Then we loved the [idea of a] mustache, we ended up into that. We all looked at Walt Disney, we all looked at Gable. We considered going for a thinner mustache but decided that was way too “actor-y.” They meticulously groomed in which mustache every other day, or even every single day sometimes. We permed the head of hair. You grow more specific as time goes on, merely out of panic.

What concerning the voice?

Listening to Abbott as well as Costello; Bud Abbott, he had been from New Jersey. I actually listened to a lot of people from New Jersey, with the help of [dialect coach] Kate Wilson inside New York. We believed a lot of different accents that were good guides to what I wanted to do. Then you definitely listen to Esther Williams films, therefore you listen to the pedal rotation. You see how far you want to go — you don’capital t want it to be since impersonal as they are inside the ‘50s. A lot of those shows back then, you listen to them and they’actu so impersonal sound. I didn’t need Eddie to come off too impersonal. Diplomatic was okay, just not impersonal.

You’onal worked with the Coens on comedies and dramas. Is there almost any difference in their process from one to the other?

Comedies are a lot easier less fun with these.


No. We have fun. We all always have fun. Yet comedy, I think, is often a much harder thing to do, because it’s in relation to timing. It’s concerning the construction of it. It’utes much more specific. Then on top of that you have this kind of cadence that almost feels Shakespearean. It’ersus not the typical type of dialogue. Like, I merely did this film with Jody Hill [The Legacy of music of a Whitetail Deer Hunter] where the dialogue’s very typical, and it was very difficult will learn for some reason. Performing Inherent Vice or Hail, Caesar! that kind of density of that dialogue comes much easier to me, just because it sounds so f—ed way up and weird. [laughs] It’s just really enjoyment stuff to breathe.

And you also have to adjust how to be the directly man surrounded by broader, sillier characters, which isn’capital t easy to do.

Which I’l happy about. I just saw the movie not too long ago and I was really happy about that. If I has been doing a caricature — not that most people are doing caricatures, but the over-exaggerated sort of that guy would take away from the film. It’s like a TV series with guest stars. The guest star can come in and carry out enormous stuff, speculate the star with the series, you want generally there to be some kind of groundwork that you can ride and keep things grounded.

So the particular film is set in the 1950s at “Capitol Pics,” which was also the identify of the movie business in Barton Fink, which is set a few years earlier. Think Eddie Mannix might have done several fixing for Barton Fink extremely popular ’40s?

I never actually put the two alongside one another or even realized that that it was Capitol Pictures.

Yeah. I was wondering but only if there’s a secret Coen Inlaws Cinematic Universe.

Well it sounds good! It sounds mythic, which I actually such as. But the reality than it is it’s considerably more mundane than that.

Would you might have wanted to work as an actress during the Hail, Caesar! period or do you reckon you’d be more happy where you are now?

I get pleasure from where I am. Right now especially, for a guy who worked 19 years as a kind of a blue-collar actor and then was able to — specially working with the Coens in my ballet shoes — I had, not even upset, just a surge of a job in my 40s. It’ohydrates been fun. I actually don’t know if that may have happened back in the day, when they were growing movie stars and if in which didn’t happen in a couple of years you were tossed to the wolves. It had been a very different time period back then. 

My dad encountered it a little bit and that i got to talk to him or her a little bit about that. Becoming under contract and just what that meant; “We’re gonna send you to learn to dance school, and we’actu gonna send you to be able to voice school.” That it was all kind of handled by them. Whereas I don’t fully realize that system.

Is in which what you perceive to get the biggest difference between the 2 main eras?

Yeah, and also that these guys from back far east who were used to making $40-$50,000 a year are generally coming to Hollywood in addition to making movies in addition to making the equivalent of $250 trillion a year. That just doesn’to happen now because it’s corporate; it’s not individualized like that. And movies for corporations are probably the smallest piece of their pie. Soft drink or Sony … you know what I’m saying?


They market more video cameras — making more money selling cameras — than making films. A movie brings in $1 zillion, let’s say. But televisions bring in $7 billion or $17 billion or maybe whatever.

The one corporation you often hear compared to that old studio technique is Marvel. They have these kinds of powerful producers dialling the shots, managing big production slates, with personalities under contract for a lot of movies. And they have a definite house style via all their films. You’re also a Marvel person. Do you see the comparison?

Yeah. I mean now that you mention it, sure. I’ve contemplated it before. The thing I think is useful is whatever Amazing is doing, actors need to be involved with. You have a lot of very good actors like Mark Ruffalo, et cetera, who wants to be involved. They seem to overpower to their own drum. And that’ersus very much appreciated whilst they are a corporation.

I don’t forget talking to Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito — which I’ve known considering that he was a very first A.D. about Hollow Man years and in the past — and they talk about the way they go to Palm Arises and they’ll hire a house and barbecue and they’ll merely sit around in addition to talk about Thanos or no matter what characters could gather and go through what ever trajectories. I mean they’re truly, really informed. And the’ve acute imaginations in addition to great curiosity in addition to fascination around storytelling. My partner and i don’t know if which was the case back then, but it’s a really refreshing thing to be around. It’ersus not just about money, though ironically they’re doing extremely well. It’s concerning the art, the storytelling, in addition to knowing that the better storyteller will make the most money in the long run. If you can keep bavarian motor works commercial invested, that’s the thing.

The Coens have actors they work with over and over again, and infrequently they tend to cast actors in the very same sorts of parts; George Clooney, for example, always perform idiots. Do you discover anything that connects every one of the characters you’ve played for them?

No, thankfully. I’ng kind of done 3 . 5 parts for them; I did Llewelyn [from No Country For Aged Men], I did Tom Chaney [from True Grit], Used to do this one, and then I did so a short that they performed for the 60th anniversary from the Cannes Film Festival, which had been more comedic. Nevertheless no, I don’testosterone levels see a connection, in addition to I’m very happy about that. I don’t realize why — not that My spouse and i question it, since i like working with them, and I’d always be very satisfied to utilize nobody but these for the rest of my job — but I’m always kind of momentarily impressed by why these people keep hiring everyone.

I think it’s since you’re doing a very good job.

Well good. I’mirielle glad people are addressing this film, because when we were doing this, we had no idea. I recall we were doing No Nation for Old Men, and that we were waiting to perform another take, and so they were tweaking the sunlight or something, and we had been just kind of shuffling our feet all around. And Ethan went “Ugh.” And I went “Precisely what?” And he goes, “Ohio, nobody’s going to see this movie,” and walked away.


I’m similar to “You can’t declare that in the middle of making a movie, man!” It doesn’big t do anything for well-being being out in the middle of the desert. On the other hand appreciate the authenticity of the very much. There’s not a lot of pretense there, and I expect they never have that because I think it is ruinous for them.

Hail, Caesar! opens with theaters on Comes to an end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *