Sicario 2: Day of Soldado–Interview with Star Josh Brolin

Sicario: Day of Soldado, the sequel to 2015’s Sicario, will be released by Sony June 29.

The new film co-stars Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin (interviewed below)

Character in Sequel

Josh Brolin: Same character, different scenario.  I liked it because it’s just a more challenging scenario. That’s why I almost didn’t do the first one, I turned it down a couple of times, I questioned it, because I was like, it’s a peripheral character. So do we not, do we care? Do we not care and if you took the character out, do you still have the same story? Does he affect the story in any way? But I liked the idea of taking these two characters who were the story’s least emotional and challenging them in this massive way, so the stakes are very high.


Friendship with Benicio Del Toro

JB: We started dating in the late eighties, and then that wasn’t working out so well, we lived with each other for about six months. And then he moved out, it was a crazy breakup, but  because we’re both professional actors, we finally decided to put all our personal differences aside and do like grownups, like real grownups. But we did a series called a “Private Eye” together. So working with him the first time, I remember him, first of all, that he was so different.  I remember later on there was somebody at Miramax that said there were two people that were the worst auditioners that Miramax had ever seen and that was Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, (laughter) and that we go in there and I guess there’s just an experimental nature to us that people didn’t respond to so well. And I remember that about him during the series that we did together and I was like that and he was like that. So I think there was a mutual respect. I think we were much more competitive back then and now it’s very different. It’s like a brotherhood. It’s trust, it’s just an ease. He texted me about seven months ago, and he said, I miss doing it with you. And I was like, how sweet.  Professionally, not personally.  I miss doing you.



JB: She was younger, but I was 16.  It was amazing actually, so there was nothing to tell that girl at all. I mean, the thing is, is when you, when you hire somebody like that, normally having done it quite a bit, you get together with these people and then you feel like you have to manipulate them and we even did another movie where we had to get rid of a kid and bring another kid in because had his hat on sideways, listening to music all the time, he wouldn’t look at his script and I was like, okay, this kid somewhere else. This is like a product of social media and all that and it’s too bad, I don’t blame him necessarily.  But Isabella came in and she’s on her phone and stuff like this, getting ready to go under the car and cry and we’re looking at her and we’re like, okay, is she focused, is she not focused because we don’t know her yet?  She gives the phone to her mom, goes in and then suddenly just the waterfall of tears and cut. And then mom can I have my phone?  (laughter)  And Benicio is like, what the fuck is happening? We’ve been trying to do that for 30 years. We were slapping ourselves, pinching, burning ourselves.

Good as a Kid?

JB: Not even close man, not even close. I would never say that I had even close to the amount of skill. Maybe I had a hidden talent, but I didn’t have the skill that she has. And for me it was years, man, I’ve been doing this for 34 years, so years of finding myself and trusting myself and I think I was much more nervous, I think Benicio was too, I think he’d say the same thing. I was much more nervous and not confident.  Whereas she seems to come with just an understanding that it’s all going to be okay, that all you have to do is just switch that switch and you’re there and then un-switch it and you’re off. Some people have that. Benny and I can safely say that we never had that and if we do maybe now, it’s after what feels like 900 decades of doing this.

Father On Screen and Off—Anthony Bourdain

JB: I understood his quote, there was a quote from him that he was crazy in his twenties, in his thirties and in his fifties and all that kind of stuff. And I understood that, just having, he was older than me, he was 61, I’m 50, so my life has definitely been that, which happily, there’s some things that I wouldn’t necessarily repeat, but there’s a lot of things that I wouldn’t take away.  But I was definitely on a, I wasn’t the prep school type, do you know what I mean?  So, there’s been a lot of color and fluctuation and I love that I have the experiences that I have, but when you imagine somebody like Chris Cornell or Anthony Bourdain, people who have kind of found, or at least I feel I’ve found it, who knows, it may change, but I found a comfort in kind of the uncertainty of life or the fact that you can get slapped over here and you go, oh my God, and in your twenties, you’re like, what’s happening and in your fifties, you’re like, what happened,  how, and you keep walking. You just kind of live your life and you’re used to that kind of fluctuation. Chris Cornell and Anthony Bourdain seemed to me to be in a place of their life, especially because I was close with Chris, to be like really kind of accepting and in a really good place and then boom, they die. You’re like, what does that mean? Not only personally, what does it mean, a horrible loss of a friend, but what does that mean socially, what does that have to do with? Is it medication? Is it social media? Is it expectation? Is it the fact that we’re getting older and you may lose your voice? Anthony Bourdain, I heard he had a relationship with this girl and was that affecting him and I don’t know, it just brings up a lot of questions. You realize the fallibility of life and how precious it is. I was really affected, I mean I’m still by Chris, I’ve had a lot of friends pass away, but Anthony, I don’t know what it was. There was something about his passing that made me just go, why?  I don’t get it and I still, it’s still in my head about it.

Character’s Dilemmas

JB: He just doesn’t have the title of a good guy doing bad things. Or is it really a bad guy doing what the government considers good things?  But then from that perspective, it might be a bad thing. So that’s what it is. It’s like this titling. I mean I won’t go into a whole thing, but even in this administration, some people love that our president is like this black and white, and it’s like we need somebody like that, it’s American. That’s what we love about America, it’s arrogant, it’s the empire.  And you have to be strong, you have be a good parent, and sit down, don’t eat sugar, you know what I mean? And you go, but where’s the humanity in that? Are you sensitive to that child that you’re telling to sit down? Are you willing to talk to that child and are you willing to bend down or do you always have to stand over the child? Everybody has a different concept of what’s good. What I like about this movie, and it’s the same thing that I love about in your Innaritu’s art piece. “Carne y Arena:, and putting on those goggles and going through, you are surrounded by people trying to cross the border, and you have the police come in and then as you’re walking, so you don’t see a person over there, you go over there, you go inside their skin and you see their heartbeat. And I was just immediately, I was like, oh, the humanity of it.  They’re trying to cross our border and get into here your bad, and we’re good. You can’t come over here, because we don’t want the bad over here, and we want to keep the bad over there. And you go really, are we taking the human element out of it? And that’s what I love about this movie. Not that I don’t like the first movie because I love it, but it feels very much like a subtle thriller. And there’s a mystery to it, you never know what’s going to happen around every corner, where’s this thing?  And it’s like Stefano, and let’s throw it in your face. It’s like, what is evil and let’s throw evil in your face. And let’s put these guys who were so unemotional in the first movie, it was Emily who was so emotional, these guys weren’t, these guys had a great arrogance and all this kind of stuff. Let’s throw them, and let’s break them. Let’s soften Alejandro by putting him with somebody who reminds him of his daughter, and let’s take Benicio or Alejandro away from Matt, his partner, his brother, and I got to do what I got to do, I got to kill you, but does it mean something to him? Well obviously it does because he starts cracking, you can see the cracking.  And then when he’s, not to give something away, but when he’s in the helicopter looking at the child when he’s supposed to clean house and he thinks Alejandro is dead, and he looks at the child and he looks away and you see the tears in his eyes. You’re human you fucker, (laughter) you are human. You represent the government and you’re human, so does that mean you’re no longer part of the government and the inhumane choices as titles? It’s fascinating to me. I’m still figuring it out. That’s why I talk so much because I’m still trying, I am like what is that, what does that mean, what is that?  Because that to me is a great movie, when it opens up the conversation into all of this, and what is where and how do you feel about it and what’s the interactive experience?

Movies and Life: Simplicity Vs. Complexity

JB: Yeah, but not as a lesson, that’s where I think things get mistaken, as a lesson. It’s like this is what you can learn from us, the great artists.  I love that old idea of like the Vaudevillian, like we’re going to put down the side of the stagecoach and we’re going to mirror, in this crazy way, this absurd way, what we pick up off of society so you can better be conscious of how we see you. What are we doing? What are we acting like? Sometimes we don’t have perspective, and then we see a movie, and we go, are we really that arrogant?  Are we sensitive? Are we insensitive? It’s just another platform for self-reflection, if you have the ability to be self-reflective. Some people don’t. They just go, my idea is just right, sorry, that’s what I’m doing with my life.  But I would hope that in the military guys that I know of, most of the first responders who are the most brave people I know, period, period across the board, the most selfless reflective people that I know and I have great conversations with them. They’re incredible, kind of almost philosophers in a way where they’re going, yeah, I was this or I was in a house, and I’m saving this person, but I was thinking this and is it worth it, these amazing kind of life or death situations. And you forget because a Government, again going back to this thing, is a Government idea of this is what we have to do, we’re looking, do the means justify the end and all that, they’re just thinking about the end result.  But there’s a whole process in that, where you’re using actual people and those are the people that actually know what the fuck they’re doing. Like those people could never do that. Those people sit in an office and then make a call and they go green light, green light, go ahead, kill him. Somebody actually has to do it, somebody has to experience that and  somebody has to experience a kid crying, going, mom, no!! The humanity comes in and hat’s what you want to do the movie about, not the guy in the office.  That’s boring


Second-Generation Actor: Famous Father

JB: Some change their name, they do. Why, because they don’t want to be associated?  Nick Cage is a Coppola, but does a lot of people know that Nick Cage is a Coppola because he went for the uncle’s name, that kind of thing?  I love carrying the name because I’m proud of my father, and not necessarily because his profession, I just like the romance of carrying a name. I think the only problem in the beginning is an, again, expectation. It’s just like anybody watching a movie, oh, you’re doing very well right now, your life must be perfect. You’re driven in a perfect SUV to come and talk to the HPFA. You make your funny jokes and then you go and you have a perfect dinner with perfect waiters and, that’s just not true.


You look at my dirty truck outside, and you’ll see. It’s just that there’s an idea, oh, you have a famous father, so, therefore.  We were just talking about cribs because I’m having a little girl, and I said my crib was a dresser drawer because my parents had no money.  And then my dad got “Marcus Welby MD” and then he had money, and then he lost that money, and he spent that money and then he didn’t work for awhile.  But what you guys see is this idea of, you made it, you made it. My Dad’s fluctuation has been crazy, any actor for the most part, except maybe what, The Rock or Tom Cruise? They can’t lose, you know?   But I think in the beginning there was a little reticence, not from me, but from casting directors. I’m not going to give you a break because I know that everybody else has given you a break because you’re James Brolin son and no.  And then you go ha. But for me, that made me want to come forward more.  For other people, it might want to make them give up.  And plus. I went about it a lot different. My Dad never did theater, I started in theater. I started in one movie, two movies, and then I went to New York. I did theater, I met Anthony Zerbe who was so wonderful. So I had a very different career. But now that you see two veterans hanging out together, talking about their respective careers, (laughter) my dad’s saying, did you see last night’s episode? And I was like, no, I didn’t see it, but I have it on tape.


Shooting Sicario and The Avengers

JB: This is the first time I’ve ever done it, so I haven’t done it with “Avengers,” no.  We did it at the same time, so I’m going to go back and do some more stuff for them so that I’ll know then.  But for this I’ve never done it. This was weird, it’s very difficult because I talked to Benny and I called Benny and I said what do you think, should we go back to this?  We really liked the first film. We were very surprised by the first film because we weren’t sure if it was going to be good or not or what. And we didn’t know Denis’ work a lot, and we trusted him during filming, but you never know. And then when we saw the first one we were like okay, we got really lucky. It’s hard enough to make a good film, why are we going to go and take the same story and same characters and do something else? It just seems set up for failure. And then Denis couldn’t do it. And then we met Stefano and met Dariusz Wolski, and I think there was something about it being so removed from the original group that was attractive, it felt like we were starting over again, it felt like it was its own story, but going back and playing the same character is strange because you have an experience now. And I’m just glad that we didn’t try to carbon copy the first one because the experience of the second one was much more emotional, which was fun. And if there’s a third one or fourth and fifth and a sixth, I’m not that old.