When Marvel Studios dropped that Thanos cameo at the end of The Avengers in 2012, the studio had only the vaguest of plans for the character. Ever since, the purple alien has been a shadowy presence in the MCU, promising to enact violent justice on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s strongest and bravest superheroes…at some point. That point has finally come in Avengers: Infinity War, and when it came time to cast the MCU’s Big Bad, none other than Josh Brolin stepped up to the plate.
Brolin made his Thanos debut in Guardians of the Galaxy, but he really gets to dig into the character in Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4, which are shooting back to back under the direction of brothers Joe and Anthony Russo. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has gone so far as to describe Thanos as the main character of Infinity War, and so when Collider’s own Steve Weintraub spoke with Brolin in anticipation of Only the Brave, he asked the performer about his experience playing Thanos in these new Avengers movies.
When asked whether he’s prepared for fans to hate him depending on what he does to their favorite superheroes, Brolin said he doesn’t much mind as long as the film turns out great:
“Dude, I’m in a position just personally where not everybody loves me and that’s okay (laughs). Look, not everybody can be on your side all the time and that’s okay. When playing a character like this, dude, it’s like there’s something—I don’t know any other way to put it, it really turned out to be one of the greatest experiences I’ve had. I’m still not done, but it’s been incredible to be able to work with the Russos, to be able to work with these guys. I had no idea. It’s just a different type of acting, but then when they showed me a little six-minute teaser of a scene that I had done, I was so blown away by how next-level this digital process is and how real it feels. I don’t know how I could be anything but happy. If everybody hates me at the end of it, I don’t know, will it be worth it if it’s a great movie? Maybe.”
As for working with the Russo brothers, Brolin had high praise—especially when it comes to The Godfather references:
“Look, I got Joe Russo who’s constantly resourcing like The Godfather and, ‘You have a gun to his fucking head.’ I’m like, ‘I love you so much. The fact that you’re taking an Avengers scenario and you’re turning it into a Godfather thing for us to be able to kind of hang our hat on is great, and to emotionalize the whole thing.’ I think they were very happy where they said, ‘We didn’t really realize that Thanos is going to be as complex as he is,’ and I think they were very appreciative with the stuff that we’re bringing to it. Also, I think that they’re in a position very openly and raw-ly where they’re like, ‘We would never do this again. This is a one-time deal. To put this many successful actors together is such a pain in the ass, but it’s been worth it. We’re doing two movies. One back to back, and this is it for us. Then we’ll go off in another direction,’ but this is a very, very, very ambitious project that I think is going to pay off in a big way.”