The Real Reason Josh Brolin Played Thanos: “I Didn’t Want to Be an Avenger.”

The Real Reason Josh Brolin Played Thanos: “I Didn’t Want to Be an Avenger.”

When you think about Thanos, one of Marvel Comics’ ultimate bad guys, it’s almost a struggle not to hear him with a Josh Brolin snarly growl speaking his lines. So, imagine if Josh Brolin were to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a good guy, like an Avenger?

Who do you think he would if that were the case? Can you see Josh Brolin as Hawkeye? Maybe Hulk? Yeah, well that would have never happened. Like, ever.

Brolin was recently a guest on the ‘Team Deakins’ podcast and he revealed some interesting thoughts on becoming a part of the MCU, Thanos, and ultimately…history.

From Cameo to CBM GOAT

Josh Brolin thought he was just in for a cameo. Now he's a GOAT
Source: Marvel Entertainment via Comic-Con YouTube

If you recall all of Josh Brolin’s sightings in the MCU, you may want to go back to Avengers during the mid-credit scene. If you think about it the way he looked, you know that wasn’t him. It was actually an actor/stuntman named Damian Poitier because Marvel Studios hadn’t inked the deal with Josh Brolin yet.

Really. See?

It wouldn’t be until the post-creds in Guardians of the Galaxy that we got to see Josh Brolin take on what would be his iconic role.

In that scene, Brolin was in full mo-cap. For Poitier, it was full prosthetics.

Anyway, that one post-creds scene was all Brolin thought he was going to get out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Can you imagine if that was it?!

“I turned down quite a bit of those things and again people were like ‘money!’ When I said yes to Avengers it was a small thing. It was basically a cameo, so there wasn’t a lot of money involved. So that wasn’t the reason.”

Josh Brolin, Team Deakins Podcast, Oct 2020

Josh Brolin has done many independent movies because the guy loves to act. Sometimes, indies have been known to pay off, like No Country for Old Men. So, not doing a movie for the money isn’t beyond Brolin’s comprehension or possibility.

“It was a small thing.” Thanos, please!

No Avengers for Josh Brolin

Source: Marvel Studios/The Walt Disney Co.

And then we get the big news — if Marvel would have asked Josh Brolin to be an actual Avenger, he would have turned them down.

“But when they came to me, they gave me a big bible. I loved that it was all [of them]. If it had been one of the Avengers — and I don’t mean this, I probably shouldn’t say this but I’m just gonna say it — I probably wouldn’t have done it. But the fact that it was all the Avengers against this one guy, I liked that aspect of it.”

Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2.

And not like this was a big surprise, but Josh Brolin credits Anthony and Joe Russo for getting that amazing performance throughout the entire Infinity Saga.

Why? He compared it to Cable in Deadpool 2.

‘Deadpool’ was hard. Even though it was funny, it was harder. That was more of a business transaction, it was more, ‘We need to make this like this,’ which I didn’t feel that way with ‘Avengers.’ With [the Russo Brothers], they would constantly go back and reference ‘Scarface’ or ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’ Whether or not it was a manipulation, they knew what to throw out there to bring it back into something inspired.


Creative freedom means the world to an actor like Josh Brolin who likes to dig into the role, learn the backstory of his character, or even make one up. The Russo boys gave him what he needed to pull out the fiend and the father figure, the narcissist and the man on a mission. There’s a ton of nuance there and Brolin pulled it all off simply because he was allowed to do so.

And, as odd as it sounds for an actor of his caliber to say, he saw Thanos’ humanity — and then he could do it.

“Suddenly, I’d have all this stuff on me, before we started shooting, dots and all that. I’d put my elbow on my knee and my hand up there and I’d scratch, and then they’d have the crude rendition of it. So, the more I watched that the more I realized, ‘Oh this is like a real guy. This is not a big purple guy, this is a guy with insides and cells and feelings.’ Then it became fun.”


Awesome interview from the Team Deakins podcast, if you get a minute. If not, appreciate the minutes we were given from Brolin as Thanos. And due respect to Ray Porter as Darkseid, we’ll never get something like that again.

And if you want to hear it in its entirety, here you go…


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