James Butler Hickcok in The Young Riders (1989-1992)
Tom in The Road Killers (1994)
Jack Pierce in The Outer Limits (1995)
Danny in Bed of Roses (1996)
Agent Tony Kent in Flirtin with Disaster (1996)
Keith DeBruler in Gang in Blue (1996)
Pete in Flashpoint (1997)
James Gallman in Nightwatch (1997)
Josh in Mimic (1997)
Billy in The Mod Squad (1999)
Bryce in Best Lad Pays (1999)
Tennel in All the Rage (1999)
Hal Carter in Picnic (2000)
Matthew Kensington in Hollow Man (2000)
Duster in Killing Point (2000)
D.C. Smalls in D.C. Smalls (2001)
Dave Lockhart in Coastlines (2002)
Gary in Milwaukee, Minnesota (2003)
Bill Sterling in Mister Sterling (2003)
Greg Earlinger in Melinda & Melinda (2004)
Jedediah Smith in Into the West (2005)
Bates in Into the Blue (2005)
Det. Gilroy in Murder Book (2005)
Tarlow in The Dead Girl (2006)
William Block in Grindhouse: Planet Terror (2007)
Llewelyn Moss in Not a Country for Old Men (2007)
Chief Buchwald in In the Valley of Elah (2007)
Det. Trupo in American Gangster (2007)
George W. Bush in W. (2008)
Dan White in Milk (2008)
Nick Chapel in Women in Trouble (2009)
Bretton James in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Roy in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
Jonah Hex in Jonah Hex (2010)
Tom Chaney in True Grit (2010)
Sgt. John O'Mara in Gangster Squad (2013)
Frank in Labor Day (2013)
Joe Doucett in Old Boy (2013)
Dwight McCarthy in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
Bigfoot Bjorsen in Inherent Vice (2014)
Matt in Sicario (2015)
Eddie Mannix in Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Men in Black III
"I am! I feel like I spend too much time with Tommy anyway. But now I'm looking at it from a different perspective. It's very, very interesting. As you can tell I get nervous talking about it because I'm not there yet and hopefully it'll be alright. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
"I don't know what the balance is yet. I'm not replacing Tommy, that I know. There's more suggestion going on than anything."
"Will is amazing to work with because he cares about every nook and cranny about what goes on. And he drives some people crazy in the studio doing it. But he knows, man. He's got the midas touch. He's got it. And he's a smart guy."
Marvel Cinematic Universe
"We did Guardians of the Galaxy and it felt perfect. I still feel great about that project. I like what it represents. The (career) trajectory. It’s very difficult for me not to look at the whole trajectory. The minute I get pigeonholed as some art-house guy, I love the idea of doing something different. It’s not the genre I’m going for. It’s not the title I’m going for. It’s the role, or the type of director."
"I think James Gunn is so amazing. When I met with those Marvel guys, I just loved seeing them and what they were about. They’re really just kind of geeks for story. They love story and they don’t try to hide it under any kind of coolness. 'This movie’s going to make a lot of money' or 'This is going to do something for your career' - there’s none of that talk. The Coen brothers are the same way. P.T. Anderson is the same way. So I don’t really see any difference between my conversations with Marvel and my conversations with P.T. Anderson."
"I love the idea of Thanos. Ultimately, it's Thanos against everyone. Why wouldn't you do that? It's a strange thing. I was more nervous doing that than I've been for a long time. I was more nervous doing that than anything I've done in a long time. I was sitting in front of 32 cameras and my face was sprayed with iridescent paint and all that. It was very, very different, but I like it. It's fun. It's different."
"When I saw what they did, that was exciting even though it was only a minute or two minutes. It was really exciting because of the possibilities that it could be come. Not as an idea or as a blockbuster but just as something different. It's a character mentality. That's just a different character, you know? It's fun. It's all fun, man."
"Thanos came along because of my good friend Louis D’Esposito. He and I used to train together. We did ‘Hollow Man’ together. He called me up and started talking about this thing. It was nice because I could intimately talk to him about it. What I liked. What I didn’t like about the whole idea of it… It was really exciting because of the possibilities that it could be come. Not as an idea or as a blockbuster, but just as something different. It’s a character mentality."
"The fact that it’s so, it’s like, Yeah in 2016 and ’17, what am I going to be doing? Oh, I’m going to be doing that. I’m very lucky in that way, man. I just get presented these things and I go wow, really? Why now and why this? The possibilities for Thanos are unlimited. I loved doing it. It was great. It was totally different. That’s not even the reason why I did it. I just loved the idea of that. It’s a really fun deal. I was more nervous during that than I think I’ve been in a long time because it’s a very different venue with 32 cameras or whatever surrounding you, and paint but fun."
“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.”
"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."
"That sounds awesome, I love that." Brolin laughed we asked the actor what attracted him to playing the Emperor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Agreeing that, "It's what he is."
"I start thinking of all those things, but that's after the fact," Brolin explained. "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."
"Having done different series and all that, it's like doing the best series you could ever do," Brolin said when asked if he hesitated to sign on for multiple films. "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," Brolin continued. "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."
"I think they just assume," the actor reflected. "Because they took so long to confirm that I was doing it, that's just the feeling you get. I heard Kevin [Feige] up on stage at Comic-Con -- because I was backstage listening to him -- and I was like, 'This motherf***er is so smart.' He's so good. He's so smart -- and what a great thing. You want to know what I know. What better than to be reaching out for it, because that makes you want it. We have so little of that left. I was talking to Paul Thomas Anderson about Inherent Vice, and they're saying the studio wants to show the publicists and all that, and he was like, 'No, not yet,' because it's like, 'What is it? I want to know what it is.' You want people reaching out for it... It's fun for me, honestly, to see, because I didn't know the severity of it. It's severe. It's a big deal. I was talking to Robert [Downey Jr.] about it 20 minutes before [the Comic Con panel]. We've known each other for a long time, but it was a different conversation. He was just like, This is a whole different universe."
"I don't know. I do know, but I don't know. But I think it is gonna be fairly soon. And I know it is gonna be... good. I am very very pleased with that whole trajectory and all the possibilities. I've talked to Kevin Feige about it, and Louis D'Esposito, and it's good."
"I was in England and I was doing Everest during making that decision to play Thanos. And strangely enough - and I'm always surprised by what I decide to do right away and what you say no to especially in hindsight- Thanos was almost immediate. I looked through a book that they had sent me and was like 'God this is amazing'!!
"I've become a guy who's like oh yeah, they offered me a part and I said no, which is not as common as we talk about it. But Everest was one, Thanos was the other. I'd turned down a lot of these things or bigger movies and immediately they sent me a huge book of all their stuff because I wasn't too familiar. I was in England doing Everest, I was halfway through the book and I was like, 'I'm so in.' It's really nerve-wracking but in an exciting way."
"It’s the type of character where it’s him agains all of the Avengers, which is fantastic in itself, but doing it is a very different type of acting. So I was a little nervous in the beginning."
"It wasn’t until I was doing this movie [Sicario], I walked into a comic book store in Albuquerque and I saw a guy who recognized me as Thanos, who basically had a minor stroke, and I was afraid because his reaction was so severe. More severe than I’ve ever seen any reaction to any actor or somebody recognizable, and I realized Thanos was his life. Thanos was his savior. The whole thing was his — it’s like he woke up in the morning swallowed and ate these words in these comic books. So it means a lot. I get the responsibility and I take it with great care."
"Yeah, I sat at a table and I listened to the story from beginning to end, which was ... you know, sometimes you go around and you go, ‘Oh, it’s a great movie. Or this is a great experience’, and you kind of know that it's not. This is the opposite. First of all, from a publicity point of view, or an interest, I’ve gotten more publicity playing Thanos, even though I haven’t done it yet, than all other movies combined. If there’s any blurb of publicity at all for me, it includes Thanos in some way or another. ‘By the way, he’s got Hail, Caesar! coming out. But don't forget about Thanos – that’s coming out,’ which is amazing, which is really cool. Then the other side of it is really how much it means to people. It all comes down ... these stories ... these Avengers stories all come down to this conclusion, and that's our involvement. Basically, my character against everybody. And it's really fun what they've chosen to do with the story. I think it's brilliant, personally. I was blown away, and had goose pimples pretty much 50% of the time that I was listening to what was going on, and pretty amazed that I'm going to be involved in it. So it's a big thing that's coming up."
"I'm very excited that I'm doing it, and I'm not just saying that ... I think it was a very good decision on my part. I know that I've shied away from bigger-type movies, a few of them... Whereas when this came along, I said, 'Absolutely.' There's just something I love about what they're doing, and I'm really, really pleased that I get to play this part."
"I just said, what do I have to look forward to? And he said, 'man, the first time I did...Hulk, was really embarrassing because I'm out there and I'm like on cinder blocks and shit trying to act out this stuff for other people. And then I saw the movie, and ... I'm so blown away that I couldn't actually wait to get back there and to do all that stuff again that I found embarrassing in the beginning.' He says, 'You're going to have a blast'."
"It's your imagination. When I'm on a set, there's such a balance between, are you methodly doing your research and getting into it and all that? And I said, yeah, but there's so much imagination involved anyway. I think the difference with this, and I'm glad that I've had a couple of experiences going in front of 36 cameras and doing mo-cap and all that, it was really unnerving for me in the beginning. So I've had those experiences, I know what to expect a little bit more. Then, you just come in prepared, and you come in like anything else. You come in as, just the whole idea of coming in as Thanos, period, sitting down and saying, 'What do you want me to do?' I'm ready. It's fun. The thought of it is fun. It makes me nervous, but it's fun."
"Where's the humanity? There's parts of him that are unfounded to me, which will be found. That's all I'll say."
"I literally can't say a word about it, but it's an incredible story. There's no script yet, but i know the story inside out and it's an amazing story. I sat at a table and listened to the story and i was completely and utterly blown away. I was told it by all of the people involved. It was a large table, i'll put it that way."