Oscar 2007: Josh Brolin in No Country for Old Men

Josh Brolin plays the crucial role of Llewelyn Moss in Joel and Ethan Coen's masterpiece Western, “No Country for Old Men,” for which he should receive his first Best Oscar nomination.

You can't fault a movie year in which the gifted Josh Brolin has rendered not one but three terrific performances in three high-profile films: lead in the above “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax), supporting in Paul Haggis' Iraq drama, “In the Valley of Elah,” and another supporting role, the smallest of the three, in Ridley Scott's crime-biopic, “American Gangster,” in which he plays a corrupt cop.

Brolin continues to emerge as a powerful, sought after film actor willing to take on challenging roles in both major studio productions as well as independents.

In each of these films, he plays opposite top-notch talent. In Scotts crime-gangster epic, he's paired with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in an epic chronicling a drug lords efforts to smuggle heroin into Harlem.

Brolin re-teams with Tommy Lee Jones, as well as Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon in Paul Haggis “In the Valley of Elah,” a drama about a fathers search for son after he went AWOL in Iraq.

Earlier this year, Brolin could be seen in “Planet Terror,” part of the critically acclaimed Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez double feature “Grindhouse,” alongside co-stars Rose McGowan and Freddy Rodriguez.

Getting to Work with the Coens

In “No Country for Old Men,” Brolin appears with Tommy Lee Jones, who plays the sheriff, and Spaniard Javier Bardem, as the scary hit, in what's a thrilling three-way chase. Initially, the Coen brothers were not interested in him when he approached them about the part, as he recalls: “I was working on 'Grindhouse,' and I couldn't see them, so I asked my director, Robert Rodriguez, 'Could you put me on a tape' And Robert said, 'Why don't we just use the camera we have'”

The duo used a $ 950,000 Genesis camera to do the nicest videotape. Robert shot and lit it himself, and then Josh sent it to the Coens, and again they were not interested. However, Brolin's agent, Michael Copper, was insistent. He got Ethan's cel phone, and finally, when the brothers were almost ready to choose another actor, they called Cooper at night and said: “If Josh can be here at 9 tomorrow morning, with six scenes ready to go, we'll give him a shot.” Thats how he got the coveted part.

Real Accident

Unfortunately, two days after he was cast, Brolin hit a car with his motorcycle, and snapped his collarbone in half. There was no way he could work, but he didn't tell anybody about the accident for a whole week. Finally, Brolin called his directors and lied, saying he had a hairline fracture. This reflected his long-held philosophy that “work is work, and it's a bout putting food on the table.”

Art Imitating Life

Brolin went to work just two weeks after the accident, and was in pain and agony most of the time. He recalls: “Mine was a clean breakthere was no fusion between the two bones; it was a floating break. You just have to wait for it to fuse.” Fortunately, his characters Moss gets shots in the right shoulder at the beginning of the story, so it worked well.

Toughest Scene

For Brolin, the toughest scene to shoot was the one in the dog, when Moss tries to escape a vicious dog by swimming away in a river. He recalls: “I was up at 4 in the morning swimming in the river with that rabid dog following me. The closer the dog gets, the worst it feels. My trainer said: 'If the dog gets too close to you, you don't move! That scene is so perfectly staged and acted that it's both scary and funny to watch.

Brolin's Career

Brolin made his feature film debut starring in the action-comedy “Goonies,” directed by Richard Donner for producer Steven Spielberg, and has since appeared in several successful films including: Paul Verhoeven's blockbuster hit “Hollow Man,” with Kevin Bacon, and Jim Stern's controversial film, “All the Rage,” which made its debut at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival, featuring an all-star cast including Gary Sinise, Joan Allen, Giovanni Ribisi, and Anna Paquin.

Comedies

Brolin received recognition from critics and audiences in David O. Russell's smash hit, “Flirting With Disaster,” portraying a bisexual federal agent, torn between a love from the past and the reality of a current relationship. The film featured an outstanding ensemble cast including Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin and Richard Jenkins.

Additional film credits include Victor Nunez's drama “Coastline,” which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, opposite Timothy Olyphant; Scott Silver's “Mod Squad,” opposite Claire Danes; Ole Bornedal's psychological thriller “Nightwatch,” with Nick Nolte, Patricia Arquette, and Ewan McGregor; “Best Laid Plans,” opposite Reese Witherspoon and Alessandro Nivola, produced by Mike Newell; Guillermo Del Toro's science-fiction thriller MIMIC, opposite Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, and Charles Dutton; as well as John Stockwell's “Into the Blue,” where Brolin starred opposite Jessica Alba.

Television

Brolin made his mark in television as a series regular in the popular ABC series The Young Riders as well as Private Eye for NBC and Winnetka Road for CBS. Brolin also received critical praise in the TNT's epic miniseries Into the West, opposite Beau Bridges, Gary Busey and Jessica Capshaw. In addition, Brolin starred in the title role of NBC's acclaimed political drama, Mr. Sterling. The show followed the efforts of an idealistic young politician as he attempted to both learn and work within an often-corrupt system. He also appeared in the CBS movie-of-the-week Prison of Children, and in the Showtime original film Gang in Blue, with Mario Van Peebles, J.T. Walsh and Stephen Lang.

Brolin co-starred opposite Mary Steenburgen, Gretchen Mol and Bonnie Bedelia in CBS's television adaptation of William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Picinic,” in a role previously played by Paul Newman on stage and William Holden on screen.