Josh Brolin Is a Busy Man -- and He's Not Complaining

"No Country for Old Men" star Josh Brolin has been in four big films this year. (By Richard Foreman -- Miramax Films)
By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 9, 2007

Josh Brolin is scared to say how happy he is.

It's not that he's scared he'll jinx it; it's just that he knows that runs like the one he's having don't last.

"It'll go away and it'll turn into something else," he says.

"It" is four big releases so far this year, including the lead in a Coen brothers adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel "No Country for Old Men" (see review on Page 34).

It has been 22 years since the son of actor James Brolin and Jane Cameron Agee came on the scene as the barbell-wielding older brother in "The Goonies." A year like this has been 22 years in the making.

"I never wanted to be one of those guys who watches other actors and goes, 'I could've done that.' I didn't want to be bitter, and I never felt bitter," Josh Brolin says before taking a sip of cabernet in the lobby of a Georgetown hotel.

Brolin is on tour promoting "No Country," and even if he's afraid to say he happy, it's there on his face. And in the way he gushes -- about his co-stars, his directors, the reaction he's getting.

And even the fact that he got the part.

The 39-year-old actor was shooting "Grindhouse" when he heard that Joel and Ethan Coen were planning to make the McCarthy novel, a haunting thriller about a man who stumbles on a case full of drug money, the psychopath out to kill him and the sheriff tracking them both. (The demented murderer is played by Javier Bardem. Tommy Lee Jones, of course, is the cop.)

Brolin had read and relished the novel but was aware that, regardless of talent, he might not have the cachet to be a contender.

"I've been in that position a lot, where there's a great part out there and because of monetary value from the business people's point of view . . . I was not even a possibility," Brolin says.

The Coens did look at his audition tape and were even impressed -- but only by the quality of its lighting. His agent badgered the inventive filmmakers to at least meet with Brolin, and on the last casting session (mostly as a favor) they did.

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