Thanos Actor Josh Brolin Never Wanted to Play a Superhero, But Was More Than Happy to Play Their Nemesis

Josh Brolin’s Thanos is best remembered for traumatizing the masses by snapping away half of humanity in Avengers: Infinity War. He engaged in a bunch of grandstanding epic battles against the Avengers and will always be known as the jerk behind the most painful Marvel deaths. Still, however much we may hate the franchise’s biggest bad thus far, it’s hard not to love his presence.

Brolin brought depth to the genocidal Mad Titan, assuring he was always one of the most compelling characters onscreen. And sure, it’s hard to recognize Brolin under all of that purple, but it’s most definitely him: intense, emotional, and extremely intimidating.

Recently, Brolin sat down for a chat with ACE Universe and opened up about his interest in the villainous role and how Marvel convinced him to take the job. Brolin said:

“When I said yes to Thanos, you know, they’d given me a big Bible and really kind of talked me up. But it wasn’t for a massive, massive part in two final films of a 10-year span. It was meant more as a cameo. So it was never the size of the role that was like ‘oh I want to do that because it’s going to push me further up into that fame or stardom or whatever.’ It was like ‘what’s the role?’ ‘The role is not one of the Avengers, it’s the nemesis to all the Avengers.’”

After that pitch, Brolin was happy to jump on board. If the question is “would you rather be loved or feared,” Brolin is all in on fear. Though Thanos began as a brief cameo role that confused newer Marvel fans and got comic-book readers pumped for the ongoing saga, he quickly blew up into the terrifying villain at the end of the road. Eventually, everything led back to facing off against Thanos and dealing with his destructive master plan. You might say he was inevitable.

Good Guy Thanos

Thanos most recently appeared in the second episode of Marvel’s What If…? and he was a lot different than we remembered. Sure, he was still his hulking, purple self and still very much genocidal, but the titan was also oddly… nice. As though a really good man with a powerful good heart offered him some very effective counseling.

But honestly, the best part about Thanos has always been his belief in himself. The murderous warlord thinks he’s the good guy, and that his plot to wipe out half the universe’s population is in everyone’s best interest. Brolin used this trait to stunning effect, finding complexity in a character that could’ve fallen to the wayside as yet another one-note villain. Brolin appreciated how much more there was to the role, and especially that Thanos was powerful enough to warrant all of the Avengers joining up to take him down:

“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 was not a lot of money involved… 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 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.”

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