Bullshitting with Josh Brolin on ‘No Country for Old Men’

I sat down with Josh Brolin about a week and a half ago to talk about No Country for Old Men, but since one of the things I wanted to talk about had to do with the film’s ending I decided to wait until it was finally released (even if it is only in 68 theaters) before I putting the interview online. I have made note of where the spoiler chatter is, but it really is the best part of the interview, so it is up to you whether you read that block or not.

If you have seen No Country for Old Men or read the book then you should be fine reading the entire interview as Brolin and I actually had a nice chat considering he was late and I was only given about 13 minutes, two minutes fewer than I was allotted dammit.

Before going in I scoured the Net for everything he had already talked about so as to cut the fat and hopefully bring a little something new to the table. Of course I had to talk to him briefly about his side venture MarketProbability.com and the fact that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez helped him make his audition tape during the filming of Planet Terror. Other than that I think it was a somewhat fresh chat with him, and the best part was he didn’t beat around the bush. He was straight-forward and I hope you enjoy it.

What prompted the Market Probability site? You weren’t interested in acting at the time…?

JB: No, no, no… I’ve always had my hand in several different jars. We also have a real estate business and we have our trading business, Market Probability… Market Probability came out of my partner and I just trading, real time trading. We were doing very well and we were coming up with different indicators beyond what trade station was providing and those indicators started to work pretty well and we realized there was no real way you can win in the market without having some kind of mathematical edge based on the history of the market and what it has done compared to now and all this kind of shit. So, I don’t know man, I liked it, we got into and we were making money, a lot more money than the pros that were telling us not to do certain things.

It is interesting, because the media always speculates on why an actor isn’t acting… but Paul Haggis even said that the reason you weren’t acting wasn’t because you weren’t being offered roles, it’s because you are picky. Is that the case? Were they lesser roles that you were being offered?

JB: It’s not lesser roles; it’s just that roles, for me, I respond to. I can respond to a role and look at the filmmaker and just because it’s a great filmmaker doesn’t mean it is going to be a great movie. A lot of great filmmakers make bad movies and a lot of great actors have parts that you go, “Wow, I can’t believe that they did that,” or, “Why did it turn out like that?” Including myself.

So, for me, I like the experience, I like the process. I like to research, working with people and the collaborative effort. I want to make sure I am working with people that I trust and like and will have a good time with. The Coens and I and Javier especially had such a good time making this movie.

People, obviously because of the nature of the film, go, “What was it like man? Were you in character the whole time?” No, the only time I was ever in character was when I was working. Otherwise I was nailing Javier’s shoes to the floor in his trailer or whatever I could do to make it fun.

I read Javier got his hair cut and came up to you and said, “I’m not gonna…

JB: …not gonna get laid for three months.” Yeah, he and I were out at a bar when that happened. “What do you think of my hair, it looks stupid?” I go, “It doesn’t look that bad.”

“Oh bullshit, I’m not going to get laid for three months man, this is awful. Fucking hate the Coens.” [laughing]

It seems like the Coens are just no nonsense kind of guys, but then I see the “Esquire” write up about you called “The Casting Mistake of the Year” and realize there is an obvious lighter side.

JB: Yeah, I was a part of that.

That was classic, and then I saw where you bullshit some reporter about Goonies 2 and said Meryl Streep was in the cast. Is this just you dealing with the boredom and how all these publicity tours get old?

JB: [Laughing] Of course it gets old, it gets too narcissistic. Taking yourself too seriously as an actor, I mean obviously there’s a craft, but when we do the work that’s when we focus on the work. You open and you listen, that’s the craft of it and you have an imagination, but when you are talking about it all the time it kind of demeans the whole process. What is it like? What is your process?

Yeah, and having to give the same answer over and over again…

JB: Well, it’s not the same answer, because you try to be fresh, but half the questions I am getting never even crossed my mind. You know? Do you feel there is a connection between Moss and… I guess… If you want there to be.

What do you think Cormac meant when he wrote the book? I don’t think he meant anything. I think he thought of a great story and then kind of riffed on it.

So all the metaphors and stuff like that come after, in order to fulfill an answer.


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