You might’ve heard this story before, but if not, it’s pretty nifty little tale to think about before you go see “Hail, Caesar!” this weekend. Before Josh Brolin became a frequent collaborator of Joel and Ethan Coen, he was just another actor trying to get a gig, but sometimes it helps to have some friends in your corner. In this case, it was two heavyweight directors who put the actor on tape, leading to a role that would change everything.
“I was doing ‘Grindhouse‘ with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino and had been told by Sam Shepard that this great book had come out by Cormac McCarthy,” Brolin told THR. “I was trying to get a job. It was like, ‘Hey, can I [do an audition tape] for this?’ [The Coens said,] ‘Yes, you can.’ Quentin said, ‘I’ll direct it,’ and Robert said, ‘Let me shoot it.’ So we did this tape and sent it to the Coens, and their response was, ‘Who lit it?’ It was probably the best looking audition anyone has ever seen.”
From there, not only did Brolin land “No Country For Old Men,” he’s gone on to star in two more features for the sibling directors, including “True Grit” and this weekend’s “Hail, Caesar!” (in addition to doing a short film with them too). And it spurred a great creative process with the pair, one that is much more fulfilling than working with a certain other director.
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“It’s a very simple process with them. They’re so prepared, and yet it’s not stifling; it’s still a very collaborative experience. … Whereas, with Woody Allen, he’ll be like, ‘Yeah, say it in your own words,’ and then you’ll say something and he’ll go, ‘But it’s not written that way.’ The Coens are not like that at all. It always surprises me how easy they make it seem,” Brolin said.
So, perhaps it’s no great shock Brolin hasn’t worked with Allen after “Melinda And Melinda” and “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger.”
“Hail, Caesar!” is in theaters now.