Spielberg shut down Josh Brolin’s method acting on The Goonies

There’s a time and place for method acting…and it wasn’t on the set of The Goonies, as Josh Brolin revealed he was told to “just act.”

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Brolin Goonies

Hey you guuyyysssss. When Josh Brolin was cast as older Walsh brother Brandon in 1988’s The Goonies, he had the role of being one of the more mature central cast members. But that doesn’t mean he had it all figured out. After all, it was his debut film, so he could afford as many pointers from the more seasoned people on set…including Steven Spielberg, who had to bring the up-and-comer down a few notches during filming.

Speaking with GQ, Josh Brolin remembered that Steven Spielberg gave him some sound advice during the making of The Goonies. Spielberg may not have been the director – those duties fell on Richard Donner – but he did have story credit and was frequently on hand. “It was a really innocent and a really fun time, and I thought that’s how movies were done and they weren’t. I remember coming up to Spielberg at some point, ’cause I was reading Stanislavsky, and even though he didn’t direct it, he was there pretty much every day and I said, ‘Hey, like, don’t you think these tunnels are like my mother’s womb, and that, like, that I’m scratching to get out of the womb, and that I need to be born again?’” That’s just the sort of highfalutin behavior that gives The Method a bad name (that and other stuff…); it also wasn’t called for on The Goonies and so Brolin was called out by Spielberg, who told him to “Just act.”

Brolin tried to put up a minor fight, but it didn’t work, recalling, “And he looked at me, and he goes, ‘Just act.’ And I was like, ‘I know, but–’ And he wasn’t being rude, he was just like, ‘Don’t overcomplicate it. Just get in there, look around, listen to people, and just do your deal.’” Brolin’s deal on The Goonies was to be part of the ensemble, and if only one person is committing to The Method, then it can really throw off the balance and dynamic between the cast. You think Anne Ramsay was bothering with all of that?

Toning it down, Brolin played a crucial enough role in The Goonies, meaning he could get overshadowed by the core cast of Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Ke Huy Quan, and Jeff Cohen, one of whom would go on to win an Oscar!

What is your favorite scene from The Goonies? What do you think of Josh Brolin’s performance in it? Let us know below!

Source: GQ

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.