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Josh Brolin on Thanos' relationship with Death, landing the role and more

08.08.2014
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While we got just a taste of Josh Brolin's Thanos in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, we do know Marvel has big plans for the supervillain in their upcoming films. In an interview with IGN, Brolin talked a little about how he got the part and his source of inspiration for Thanos, as well as a few other things related to the Mad Titan.

On being cast as Thanos:

First and foremost, I have a really good friend who I've known for years who's the co-president of Marvel, Louis D'Esposito. I knew Louis as a first AD, and he's the one who initially called me, and then [producer] Jeremy Latcham. Then I talked to Kevin Feige, ultimately. But there's something about them that's so insular and so geeky and so real. I loved it -- because I've turned down a lot of those types of movies. Not Marvel, but I've turned down a lot of those types of movies. When they started telling me the story about them getting together in Palm Springs, nine of them flipping burgers and talking about what Thanos was going to do and going, 'What do you think?' like, 'Captain America's going to show up here!' Then, 'Oh my God, what if the Hulk came in at that point?' and all that -- I love that sh**. I love it, because those guys are absolutely saturated with that world, and they love story. Another thing that I really loved is, they said that they didn't use directors that did music videos and all that in the past. They would always look for people who had done stories. If you look at James Gunn's oeuvre, he's done even web series, but they're all stories.

Josh Brolin's portrayal of Thanos will of course be based on the Marvel comics, but he says Colonel Kurtz from APOCALYPSE NOW will also be a source of inspiration for the character. Brolin went on to talk a bit about going on stage at SDCC last month, and the impact it had on him.

I start thinking of all those things (the comics and Colonel Kurtz), but that's after the fact. I want to know that these guys are really into what they're doing. It's not just like, 'Oh, Marvel's hot right now. Do you want to do a Marvel thing?' Well, no, I don't want to do a Marvel thing, because that can have the opposite impact, and you can actually work less and people go, 'Oh, why'd you get him for that?' I ask, 'Do I see myself as this thing and could I do this thing?' Not that I'm ever 100-percent sure, but we had constructed this small thing, Kevin Feige and I and Robert, and going on-stage at Comic-Con. Then it became something else. Once I got on-stage, it sort of became its own improv. I knew at that point, because I saw the rivalry between Robert [Downey Jr.] and I, and I thought, 'I get this. I suddenly really get it.' So I feel like I'm more inside it than I was. It was more a display to me before that. It was more cosmetic. Now I think I'm starting to get who the guy is a little bit.

Brolin can't wait to go one-on-one with Robert Downey Jr., but he says it's "not necessarily because we're personally connected."

It's just, we're both in very different parts of our lives. He's fun. He's smart, and I like playing off of somebody smart, because it's challenging. I like the challenge a lot.

Josh Brolin says he loves Thanos' relationship with Death, and compared him to his character in SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR.

His relationship with Death, who is actually the woman, I love that. You can take Sin City [in which Brolin plays a man obsessed with a dark-hearted woman] and pump it full of steroids, and then you have Thanos. I like that he's motivated by that -- not just motivated by destruction or death or this or that. He's motivated by a very identifiable, human trait.

Brolin was also asked by IGN if he had any doubts about signing a multi-film deal with Marvel.

Having done different series and all that, it's like doing the best series you could ever do. You know you're taken care of, you know the manifestations are good, you these people are at the top of their game. I've been involved in series where I couldn't wait to play a character and watch the character go through this trajectory, and then you would say, 'Why would you do that?' Like, you're doing that based on a model of what you think people want. 'Oh, we need a love interest now. Oh, we need this.' This is already set up, and it's set up brilliantly. It's like, 'Okay, now how are you going to utilize it in a way that's within Avengers, within Guardians, within that?' I don't know if there's anybody better than them [Marvel Studios]. They understand it. They live it. I can tell you live it too, and it's that kind of a thing. It's like, I'm catching up to you guys, and I love the idea of catching up to somebody.

You know, there are movies that I've done where I feel like I have a better understanding before I even started than the filmmakers do. And that's disconcerting because they're the filmmakers. They're like, 'Well, what do you want to do?' It's like,'What do you mean what do I want to do? What do you want me to do?' We can go back and forth with it, and maybe I'll have my two cents over here and they go, 'Oh my God, that would be great. Even though that's not really a part of Thanos, it would be a great addition to Thanos, to make him even more Thanos,' or bring even more humanity to Thanos -- whatever it is. So I'm in the learning stages that is really exciting. When I first said yes, they sent me so much frickin' research. I was in the middle of doing Everest, and I was focusing more on Thanos than I was on Everest. But it's an exciting prospect, truly.

Josh Brolin doesn't know all of Marvel's plans for Thanos, but he does have "an idea" of where Marvel wants to go with the character. As to which films he will be appearing in, Brolin says, "I know what one appearance is going to be for sure. There's one or two that I don't know."

All of this sounds great, but Thanos likely won't have a big role (maybe even just a brief appearance) in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, so it's probably going to be a while before we learn more about Marvel's exact plans for the powerful supervillain. What are your thoughts on Brolin's comments and his Col. Kurtz inspired Thanos?

Marvel's AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON will be in theaters on May 1, 2015.

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Source: IGN

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5:36PM on 08/08/2014
I'd be curious to know what comic book movies Brolin turned down, since Jonah Hex was one he said yes to, and it was awful. But he was killing it as Thanos and I look forward to seeing more of him. Anyone know if Brolin does mo-cap for Thanos, like Hulk? Or will he be in make-up?
I'd be curious to know what comic book movies Brolin turned down, since Jonah Hex was one he said yes to, and it was awful. But he was killing it as Thanos and I look forward to seeing more of him. Anyone know if Brolin does mo-cap for Thanos, like Hulk? Or will he be in make-up?
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12:02PM on 08/08/2014
The Thanos scene in GotG was great set-up, can't wait to see him menace more of our heroes in the coming MCU films.
The Thanos scene in GotG was great set-up, can't wait to see him menace more of our heroes in the coming MCU films.
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10:07AM on 08/08/2014
It's funny that he mentions Sin City. Because I think Eva Green would be the perfect choice to play Lady Death.

Loved the wee bit of him we saw in Guardians, can't wait to see Thanos in action
It's funny that he mentions Sin City. Because I think Eva Green would be the perfect choice to play Lady Death.

Loved the wee bit of him we saw in Guardians, can't wait to see Thanos in action
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8:21PM on 08/08/2014
I was just thinking the same thing.
I was just thinking the same thing.
9:13AM on 08/08/2014
Brolin was definitely a great choice for the part. I like how he doesn't do fanboy lip service and say he's always been interested in Marvel and always loved the character of Thanos. I like that he's straight with everyone that he didn't know, he had to research the character, but he was attracted to the part based on the character and story within the MCU. Can't wait to see more of him as the MCU gets closer to Avengers 3
Brolin was definitely a great choice for the part. I like how he doesn't do fanboy lip service and say he's always been interested in Marvel and always loved the character of Thanos. I like that he's straight with everyone that he didn't know, he had to research the character, but he was attracted to the part based on the character and story within the MCU. Can't wait to see more of him as the MCU gets closer to Avengers 3
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8:19AM on 08/08/2014
I thought Marvel did a great job in hiring Brolin for Thanos, and thought he did an awesome job in the brief time we saw him in Guardians of the Galaxy. Easily one of the best scenes, in my opinion.

But I'm not expecting him to really show up again until Thor 3, since Thor's stories take place in outer space, and that's where Thanos is currently residing.
I thought Marvel did a great job in hiring Brolin for Thanos, and thought he did an awesome job in the brief time we saw him in Guardians of the Galaxy. Easily one of the best scenes, in my opinion.

But I'm not expecting him to really show up again until Thor 3, since Thor's stories take place in outer space, and that's where Thanos is currently residing.
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