Men in Black 3: Josh Brolin

When Agent J jumps back in time to 1969, he almost immediately comes into contact with the man who will become his partner in 25 or 30 years – Agent K. The filmmakers turned to Josh Brolin to build on Jones’ performance as the older K to interpret and channel the character as a young man.

“You’ll hear all the time a producer say, ‘Well, if we didn’t find this particular actor, we could never have cast the role’–but that was never more true than with Josh playing this part,” says producer Walter F. Parkes. “You can find a picture of Tommy Lee Jones as a lineman for Harvard and compare to a picture of Josh Brolin in Milk, with his hair cut in an early-1970s style. It’s amazing – they’re dead ringers for each other. But it’s not just about how he looks. He had to deliver Tommy, but he couldn’t do an impersonation–he had to do an interpretation. I think his performance is one of the delights of the movie.”

“Will and Tommy are an iconic duo,” says Brolin. “It wouldn’t work if another actor came in as a third wheel. But when they explained to me the plot of the film and my role–that J goes back in time to 1969 and I would play the young K–well, I’m in. I’m in without even thinking about it, because there’s a character I want to play.”

“Being a part of this movie is crazy for me,” Brolin continues. “When you go see a great movie, like Men In Black, you’re in the audience thinking, ‘Wow, I want to be those guys.’ You want to be that cool, to have that chemistry with someone. And then you’re asked to do it–it’s like winning the lottery. When I put on the suit, it was the most surreal feeling in the world–I felt like Superman.”

In approaching his role, Brolin says he relied on a careful mix of actors’ tools. “I started with a caricature and whittled away from there,” Brolin explains. “But we really created our own thing. It was less about ‘How am I going to do Tommy?’ than finding a rendition of Tommy and then making it our own.”

“There’s a certain rapport or repartee that you’ll develop with an actor, and that becomes your timing, how you create,” Smith says. “Josh had studied Tommy so well that there wasn’t a single missed beat when Josh came in. It was almost the identical chemistry, which is very difficult to come by.”