Josh Brolin

August 21, 2014

Josh Brolin: Goonies Never Say Die. AMA.

Good morning reddit. I'm Josh Brolin and I have no idea what I'm doing here. I'm fully caffeinated, over caffeinated, and looking forward to talking to anybody who would like to talk at this hour in the morning. Right now I'm working on a movie called Sicario with Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt in Albuquerque (which is beautiful, and where people go to die). Hence the scruffy gray look, not gay look, gray look, which is not meant to be cool, but I'm told can be at times (to some people it just looks old - er). To talk about all the projects that I've done recently or that I have coming out feels a bit uncomfortable until I'm asked specific questions about what you guys are interested in. I'm here with my daughter (which doesn't mean you guys cannot be inappropriate, as she's 21 and can vote), and Victoria from reddit. AMA. I'm here to keep talking for an hour and a half, it's the longest monologue in reddit history.

EDIT: So appreciate the serious and absurd questions. Even though it was instigated by promoting a film, it's been a great way to start the morning. There's nothing like passionate involved saturated fans. Really appreciate it guys. Thank you.

"The Goonies" is the all time best adventure kid's movie for my generation. Do you have a funny or interesting story from making that movie?

They didn't show us the - actually, I do! They didn't show us the ship that was being built, which would now be CGI I'm sure, so this was long enough ago that everything was practical (which made things much more fun & fantastical) - so it was on a stage, the stage was a massive pool with a practical 110 foot boat built in it. And they backed us up into the stage, into the water, had the camera set up so that we could have an "organic" reaction, put us underwater, I came up out of the water, turned around, we all came up out of the water, I turned around and said "Holy shit!" which ruined the whole take. And the surprise. So we had to resort to acting in the end.

Did you guys giggle everytime someone said "one eye Willy"? I never realized it was a euphemism until I went back and watched it in my teens! I've heard this story before...Why would "holy shit" ruin the take? Shit was said at other times in the movie.

My first day at work, half the day was ruined because I giggled so much. My dad didn't often bring me to the set, being an actor himself, so my infancy as an actor was wracked with a lot of giggles and nervousness.

Thank you sir for doing this AMA. You have worked with the Coen Brothers more than once and made some fantastic films. What is it about them that makes their movies so special?

One body, two heads.

Or maybe one head, two bodies?

I'm not sure which. I love mystery. I still haven't been able to figure them out. When I went out to After No Country for Old Men, I got to know Ethan fairly well, went out to dinner with him at one point, and I caught him looking down a little too often and then realized that he had brought a book to dinner. So the reason I keep working with them is less about the art, and more a personal quest in trying to solve the mystery that is Ethan & Joel Coen.

Hi Josh, are you a comic book fan? Who is your favorite superhero/supervillan?

Thor and Hulk.

Richie Rich, which I am ashamed to admit. Richie Rich, Hulk, and Thor (I had a thing for blonds?)

And then got into the graphic novels of Frank Miler & all that, which isn't just to promote this film, it's the truth.

Josh, your remake of "True Grit" was, in my opinion, better than the original. If John Wayne was alive today, what is something you would ask him?

"Would you ever quit smoking?"

"Would you ever quit smoking?"

"At which point did you come up with the persona?" There's early John Wayne, and late John Wayne. It always seems that with success,t here's a cultivation of persona, which can make an actor's career, or ruin it.

Ooh, that's so deep.

Be honest, Christian Bale is your half brother isn’t he?



The milkman's his dad.

How much training did you have to do for Thrashin’? Did you already know how to skateboard?

I did. On the audition, part of the audition process was me having to skateboard outside while they watched me from across the street, second floor window. I hit a pebble, my skateboard went out into the street, and an 18 wheeler ran over it. The only reason I got the part was because the Goonies poster was up at the time. But yes I got the part.

Hey Josh Brolin! Thank you for giving us this opportunity, I can't wait to see you more as Thanos!

Thank you again for this chance, on behalf of this AMA I'd like to commend you on your talents and wish you luck on your current and future projects

Nobody gets that title right, ever! Phenomenal. Very distinctive personalities. All amazing actors. Garret Dillahunt and Kelly MacDonald gave phenomenal performances, you would never know she is from Scotland on that film. It was a special time, in that nobody had the idea that the film would be seen by anyone. Again - so deep! And heartfelt!

All my memories are off camera, even when I was on-camera, it felt like I was off camera. A lot of painting with Robert Rodriguez and George Yepes (who is a painter, our teacher when Robert & I worked together - Robert has a studio out back, and we did about 8 paintings during that time).

What did George W think of your impersonation of him?

Oliver Stone saw Clinton at a art exhibit in China, where Oliver was selling some of his art. They started talking about W, Clinton (who's very close friends with W) loaned him his DVD, Oliver found out, and when Oliver asked Clinton how W liked it, his response was "Funny, but kind of sad."

You've spoken recently about your troubled youth and how some of your childhood friends were unable to move beyond their troubles, often resulting in their unfortunate demise. Your turn around in life can be quite inspiring. What advice would you have for troubled and at risk youth looking to overcome and succeed in life?

Erase labels.

We were proud to label ourselves as "teen-agers" and got stuck on those labels as adults, to the demise of many of my friends. I'm just one of the lucky ones.

is Barbra Streisand a cool stepmother ?

(hashtag: yentl)

Is there a possibility of a sequel to "The Goonies"?

We just wrapped!

Please don't tease us like that!

There's always a possibility. Seriously, no teasing. About every 5 years it comes up. I've never read a script. It seems that recently in the last year, there's been more talk of it than usual from the likes of Corey Feldman and Richard Donner. But that's as far as it's gone for me. I don't know how I feel about a sequel, given that I love the original movie so much.

What was it like to play Thanos? How long did it take to put on all that makeup? And do you know of any plans you can tell us about your character? THANK YOU!!

Thanos was a one-day process: it was a digital process that I was personally involved in.

Once I was at Comic-Con I realized what it meant to everybody. The critics' impact is minimal here, it's all about the fans. And when I was at Comic-Con, I realized the great rivalry between Robert & myself, and so did Marvel, so I think they have big plans for Thanos in the future.

Hi Josh! Thanks for this AMA! Two questions: A. Being “The Goonies” your first movie, does it have a special place in your heart? If yes, more because of being the first or for the “adventure type of film and success it had? B. When you made MIBIII, how many times you cracked up in laughter portraying a young Agent K that had to be serious but not too serious, working with Will Smith?

I've never had more fun on a movie than I did on the Goonies. I thought that was how it was going to be for the rest of my career. And even though there have been massive fluctuations in the past 30 years, I still hold that as my greatest experience.

Watch the gag reel for MIBIII on YouTube. Very hard to keep a straight face the entire film.

Hi Josh. Thanks for doing this AMA!

Two questions.

1.) I read that you used to be an active trader and successfully managed your own money. Do you still keep up with the markets and trade frequently?

2.) You have been sentenced to death for a crime you did not commit. What would you choose as your final meal?

1) Mmm... I do. It's long-term trading now. Which is not my forte. Even though I've done well. It was the everyday buzz that I loved, and seemed to jive with well.

2) Hoover's Beef Palace in Templeton, California, with extra sausage. What would I have? I would have the ranch breakfast, two pancakes, two eggs over easy, a slab of sausage, and biscuits & gravy. Fuck yeah!

Sin City has an All star cast. How was it working with such great talent?

Great. With that type of movie, you think it would be a phone-in job. But the truth of the matter is, it has a depth (if you want it to) or it's just a great cosmetic ride (if you just want to be entertained).

If you could star in any television series, from any time, who would you like to play and why?

Any television series of all time?

I want to go back and be the Fonz. And never have "to be continued" on the screen. I hated waiting the week.

Hi Josh, Thanks for doing an AMA!

Loved American Gangster. What was it like working on set with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington? Did any thing wild happen on set.

Yeah. With Russell, I told him before when I was doing "No Country" that I was going to lose weight for the role, so they had the measurements of what I was supposed to be. When I showed up, apparently, I had forgotten to lose the weight, so I put on my wardrobe and went to rehearse my first scene with Russell. I was nervous (obviously) and excited, I asked Ridley if it was ok if we just ran through the scene once, I grabbed a chair and sat next to Russell. Halfway through the scene, and the seat of my pants ripped wide open. I missed the mark in making it a joke to break the ice between Russell and I. Once the scene was over, nobody was very impressed, and I went back to my trailer waiting to be fired. So while I was in my trailer, pantsless, there was a knock at the door, waiting there was Ridley, who said "I love the vulnerability you've brought to the role. Let's go more with that."

Mr. Brolin, you’ve been in 2 feature films with the legendary Thomas Lee Jones. I have heard stories of his master abilities in the kitchen. Please tell us, were you privileged enough to taste any of his prepared cuisine while on set of either film?

Who, Thomas Lee Jones' prepared cuisine?

I did not know Thomas Lee Jones cooked.

Would you agree that the coolest thing anyone with the last name "Brolin" has ever done was that cameo your dad did in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure"?

Yes, first of all. And the guest episode he did for the Batman series.

Yes, first of all. And the guest episode he did for the Batman series.

That's where he met my mom, who was an assistant casting director. He played a cop on Batman.

Yeah, most parents/Batman stories don't end well.

They were married 12 days later.

What's your daughter's favourite movie: A. including you B. not including you?

My daughter, who is standing right here?

Oh god, my favorite movie with you... is probably...there's two. It's probably No Country and Thrashin' because it makes me laugh all the time, because your hair changes in every scene, I'll never forget that. And then not including him? God, I don't know, there's too many....I don't know... Dude, I have no idea.

What's a movie that we watched a lot as a kid? Like the Godfather or something?

Dog Day Afternoon!

Hey Josh! I absolutely LOVED Grindhouse. What was it like working with Quentin Tarantino? He seems like he'd be... an interesting dude.

More than interesting was going to screenings at Quentin's house, and having him break down the movies for a half-hour or more of what we were about to see. I think he's the only filmmaker out there that is as knowledgeable or more than Scorsese.

What's your craziest on-set story?

My craziest on-set story comes from during the Goonies, when I came up to Spielberg and said that I wanted to climb the walls of the tunnels and that it represented my mother's womb, for some odd reason. I was reading Stanislawski at the time and Spielberg's response was "Why don't you just act."

To prepare for your role as a young Tommy Lee Jones in MBIII how many hours a day did you practice making your face extra weathered and wrinkly?

I have been practicing my whole life.

Did you enjoy playing Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy? What do you think of the final product?

I'm becoming enough of a fan now that it's Thanos, okay?

I was incredibly satisfied with the final product as a film. And really look forward to seeing what they'll do in the future.

Follow up question: do you enjoy paying a villain, hero or the anti-hero ala Llewellyn? I don't know you in real life so I'm curious as to what represents you best.

I would say most of the people who know me would not parallel me with the roles I've become most known for. I'm an absurdist who embraces the absurd.

She refuses. The trailer doesn't do a good job for the movie and she just thinks it's kid stuff. I told her it's kinda scary for a kid movie and super entertaining. She also thought Morgan Freeman was Will Smith... So there's that also.

I'm concerned for her well-being.

We are all now concerned.

PM me an address, and I will send her a personalized DVD. Would she watch it then?

Would you consider starring in the Expendables 4? If so what would be your nickname?

No, too much working out. I like my in-n-out burgers.

Do you, or your daughter, watch Game of Thrones? Do you have a favourite character?

YESS!!!! Absolutely. My favorite character is Tyrion. All the way.

YESS!!!! Absolutely. My favorite character is Tyrion. All the way.

And I haven't seen TV since Happy Days. Or Laverne & Shirley. To be continued...

I do love Breaking Bad. That's the only TV show I ever watched.

That's all I ever think about when you're in Albuquerque.

How was the kiss with Kerri Green in the "The Goonies"?


What happened in 2007? Were you given superpowers?

What happened in 2007? Was I given superpowers? That's awesome.

It seems that way, doesn't it? I was fortunate enough to finally do movies that people saw.

What did Patricia Arquette's armpit taste like?

A better question: what did Patricia's armpit taste like...with hair?

Like Roll-On.

What's the scariest and creepiest thing that has ever happened to you, dear good sir?


After seeing the first Friday the 13th, my buddy Matt Mondragon next to me couldn't shut his eyes because they were shaking so bad. The date on the screen that comes up in the beginning of the movie is the same date we are watching it on. So by the time we got home, I was convinced somebody was under my bed.

That's my Six Degrees moment with Kevin Bacon.

Hey Josh, huge fan.

  1. What was it like working with Spike Lee on Oldboy? Did you watch the original?

  2. If you could work with anyone you haven't already worked with, who would it be and why ?

  3. What's your favourite type of sandwich?

Thanks for doing this AMA :)

1) Saw the original many, many, many times. One of my favorite films. Loved Spike. Continue to love him. Great filmmaker.

2) I never think in those terms. I don't have a favorite character or a favorite filmmaker that I like to work with. But I've been extremely fortunate to work with some of the best.

3) I made my kids eat avocado, honey and what was it? Tuna? once

And cayenne pepper!

It was an experiment that didn't work, but I liked it, because i was hungry at the time.

Hello, Josh. What has become of the red bandana?

Do you have anything funny or interesting to tell about Javier Bardem?

Also, I loved your part in American gangster. You were so vicious in this movie. And I want that leather jacket.

Thank you, cheers from Paris.

It'll be on Jimmy Fallon tonight, possibly.

No, but has a much better looking haircut now.

Tell me which is grittier: Tommy Lee Jones' glare, or a literal bucket of grits?

Glare. Hands down.

Thanks for speaking to us. I have two questions.

1) What attracts you to a project?

2) From an actors point of view do you prefer working on smaller budget, heavy drama films like No country for old men, or on the big budget summer blockbusters like Men in Black 3?

1) Fear. The more nervous I am, the more impossible it seems, the more attractive it eventually becomes. I said no to W 3 times, and only because of the persistence of Oliver Stone, was I given the gift to be able to attempt that role. Now I'm getting old enough where fun has something to do with it too.

2) Doesn't matter. I've never seen budget or commerciality or art being ever overwhelming the power of a really good story.

Who has more True Grit? Tommy Lee Jones, James Brolin, or Jeff Bridges?

Jane Brolin (because that's my mom). None of the above.

How did you meet Robert Rodriguez?

He did second unit on Mimic, Guillermo del Toro's first American film. And I was in the movie. And we spent a lot of time talking about the films that we wanted to make, the types of careers that we wanted to have, and the types of stories we wanted to tell. And we've remained fast friends ever since.

Josh! Now that you're in the Marvel Universe, have you received any kick ass perks you couldn't get as just a bad ass actor?

The fact that I get to play Thanos is enough.

What character from literature would you most like to portray?

Stephen Dedalus. But I'm too old.

Since you're like, Thanos now, can you beat the bullies in my school up? Please? :)

I was severely bullied as a kid.

Don't be afraid to be yourself. The misfits always win.

Was the octopus really scary?

The octopus was rubber.

Good morning Mr. Brolin!

I was wondering what draws you to a particular role?

Also, what is your favorite book, and why?

Thanks so much!

My favorite book? Wow... let's see. My favorite-favorite-favorite-book is probably...A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And there's a great book I've been reading lately called Awareness by Anthony DeNello.

But 100 Years of Solitude I love too. I go back and read that every 5 years. And Shantaram, by my buddy Gregory David Roberts, whom I was with in India last year riding motorcycles through Mumbai.

LaBeef, Thor and Hulk walk into a bar. What happens next?

They get drunk and have horrible hangovers the next day. Somebody else saves the world.

Have you ever said Die? Does saying Die, immediately get you booted from being a Goonie?

Goonies Never Say Die. And I am a Goonie. Invalid question.

If you weren't an actor, what job do you think you'd be doing?

I wanted to be a lawyer, I was studying to a lawyer, which I realized was the same thing as acting. And there was one point where I wanted to be a chef.

What is your favorite dinosaur?


Tyrannosaurus Rex, because we have the same length arms.

You find a lamp and genie pops out and gives you 3 wishes. What do you wish for?


No war. Nourishment for everyone. And compassion.

What is your favorite past time when you're not acting?

My favorite pastime is raising my kids, and surfing.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food? A dessert called Banoffee pie.

If no ones asked you today... How ya doin?

What a nice question.

I'm a bit tired. There's a few sand granules in the eyes. But I'm hanging with my daughter today. Life is good. I like that.

Josh Brolin, what is best in life?

That it's technicolor.

Mr. Brolin, what went through your mind as you read the script for "Jonah Hex"?

A great opportunity to do something like High Plains Drifter. Which was one of my favorite films. Didn't turn out that way. Sorry.

What for vacuum cleaner do you have?

Ever want to play a cameo in a serie like TWD?

I still live in a town where you can go to Sears. I don't know the make.

I don't watch very much TV. Walking Dead is produced by a good friend of mine, Greg Nicotero, and that's one show I might do because it's very innovative.

What does your daughter think of your role in the Goonies? Does she say stuff like "wow I can't believe you were ever that young". I think it'd be cool to see one of my parents as a young actor.

It's hilarious!

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Ice cream? Pistachio... no wait, chunky monkey right now.

We all are looking forward to see "Inherent Vice". How would you describe working with Paul Thomas Anderson?

After Goonies and the Coens, one of the greatest experiences of my life. He creates an ambience of creative insanity. It felt like swimming in a Ralph Steadman drawing. Whoa, deep. Heavy.

Dude. You were awesome in No Country and True Grit. I just watched Old Boy last week, and again I was blown away by how awesome you were. How do you think the American Old Boy stacked up against the classic Korean version? It seems like there would have been a lot of pressure to get it right.

Don't ever really think about the pressure of getting it right. I think we were more into doing our own version. But I am still a massive fan of the original version. It's one of the best. That series, that trilogy, is one of the best in all Asian filmmaking.

Were you offered a movie role that you turned down that you later regret? If so, what was it?


Love your work. What can we expect from Inherent Vice? Do you know when a trailer is coming out? I'm dying to see it.

Me too!

I don't know when a trailer is coming out, I hope soon. I'm very proud of that movie. And I think Joaquin Phoenix has reached an alien level of talent.

Would you consider playing Joel in the adaptation of 'The Last of Us?'

I think you would be perfect casting!

Thank you very much. I'm stuck on Robotron and Asteroids and Galaga. But that sounds interesting...

Hey there Mr. Brolin, do you have any special talents you wouldn't mind sharing with us?

He's a great, great writer.

Eden just chimed in - he's a great, great writer. I'm a good parent.

And an amazing race car driver! Yeah, i think that's something a lot of people don't know. He's a great musician. He's really good at shuffling cards. He can surf so well. He's a great swimmer...

Shit, it's one of my favorite actors and I'm already too late for this AMA. you like chocolate milk?

Used to guzzle it as a kid. Loved nestle Quik, too. But Hershey's is the best. You're fucking awesome. Best question yet.

Hi Josh! Thanks for taking questions with us!

Honestly, what was your first reaction when you saw Javier's haircut on the set of No Country for Old Men?

His haircut? Hilarious. I laughed, I did. It was a Coen idea. And any idea that the Coens ever have is always absurdly hilarious.

Hey Josh Brolin. You're such a cool dude. What is you're secret to being so cool? And also why do you have such great hair? The world needs to know.

Thanks. YOU'RE cool.

My hair is the product of my buddy's hair care product that he started after turning his life around. It's called original sprout.

Mr. Brolin,

Thank you for your contributions to film and art. What inspired you to write and direct your short film "X"?

Thank you!

I was getting ready to do a short that I wrote called "Poker Face" that Robert Rodriguez loved that involved a lot of prosthetics and green screen, and I realized it was too ambitious for me at that moment, so I pulled my truck over and wrote a father/daughter story on the side of the road. It took about 2 hours. I liked the story. I asked my daughter if she wanted to be involved, she did, and we filmed it in about 3 and a half days.

Do you keep any movie props from the films you've been in?

Movie props? A lot of shirts that I make for the wrap of the films that are extremely inappropriate. I have boxes of them in storage.

What do you put on your sandwich?

Chunky peanut butter & jelly. And bananas sometimes.

Can you tell us about a time you got star struck?

John Malkovich! Who I asked to do Jonah Hex after I got to know him through the Coen brothers. And we went out for Ethan's 50th Birthday party to a german restaurant in New York, and it was the most star-struck I've ever been. I saw him in Burn This onstage, which was a turning point in my love of acting. Realizing how far you could go with a character.

When are you going to record a cover of Chamillionaire's Ridin'?

They see me Brolin, they hatin..

It's been a joke my kids' entire lives.

Should we set it up now?

what super power would you have?

Always loved X-ray vision. I bought those glasses. I spent most of my allowance on those fucking glasses that never worked.

What has been your strangest interaction with a fan? And just curious, favorite music?

Favorite band is probably Pearl Jam. And strangest interaction with a fan... probably a homeless guy that had seen No Country. Somehow on a display, like a television through a store window, watched it through the glass? And I ended up having dinner with him that night. It's true!

Since you're in Albuquerque, do you prefer the red or the green?

Christmas! Always.

Any tips on how to be as awesome as Josh Brolin?

Leopardskin thong.

When will you start hosting the web series "Trollin' with Josh Brolin," in which you scour internet articles and post outrageous comments in message boards?


Better than my old buddies' idea of "Brawlin' with Brolin"

What's your favorite pizza?

Anything from Two Boots! Or 800 Degree Pizza, in Santa Monica, California. No wait, Paulie Gee's in Brooklyn.

Do you think shorts above the sweatpants will make a comeback?

I've asked to wear that wardrobe in every movie since. Thank god the sequel's coming out soon.

You become best friends with a live, talking unicorn. What advice do you give your new best friend?

This is not advice, it's a question, but when does this wear off?

HEY JOSH! when will you be making Thrashin' 2?

Right after Goonies 2. Back to back.

Do you have a favorite place that you've gotten to film or somewhere that you thought was just perfect?

Loved New Mexico. Filmed several times there. And doing Into the Blue in the Bahamas was pretty great.

JOSH!!! HUGE fan here!!! I have a question I have been wanting to ask for a while. There was a huge rumor that you and Kevin Bacon did not get along on the set of Hollow Man due to his constantly farting in between takes and being obnoxious. It sounds like bullshit, but its a very widely spread rumor. Is there any validity to this at all??

Not true. It was me who was farting. It was he who had the problem.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Josh Brolin conducted on Reddit on 2014-08-21. The Reddit AMA can be found here.