Josh Brolin Talks the Heart of Thanos in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Josh Brolin will be on the big screen portraying two villainous roles in the next two months. Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War will see him as Cable and Thanos, respectively. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s going to absolutely ace both roles.

Up first is Infinity War and he recently spoke with EW about bringing Thanos to life, but more importantly, giving him a heart that might speak louder than his evil. Okay, so maybe not actually speak louder…but we might hear it whisper.

Brolin admits that he didn’t know anything about Thanos before the film, which is actually something he used to his advantage. To get to know and embrace the character from nothing.

That’s an interesting question because I’m the least educated person you’ll ever meet when it comes to this stuff. I knew nothing about Thanos. Nothing. And it was great. I got to start from scratch. I bring that up because you go, who is he? Kind of an amalgamation of people, to me. And who specifically? You want to really go out on a limb? Because it’s not okay to actually parallel with people. But he doesn’t divert from his intention at all. Who could be like that? [Laughs]

He went on to say that Thanos thinks he’s bringing order to the universe.

You think of overpopulation and killing half the universe in order to save the other half and all this kind of stuff. You have this struggle watching him. It’s this love-hate thing, you know? So I don’t know … Who in our society do we love and hate?

When EW mentioned that Thanos has a total neanderthal swagger, Brolin agreed immediately. Agreeing that he does use strength to intimidate.

And that’s great. And that’s your perception of it. You see this lughead and this guy who you pigeonhole right from the first cosmetic reaction to him. And what I see is this in this guy’s eyes. This super, super, super intelligence. There’s this constant contrasting thing about this Neanderthalic lughead who’s way more intelligent than anybody else in the movie, by far.

It was then brought up that Thanos is the father, of sorts, Gamora and Nebula. Brolin solidified that they’re tools to him. He trained them to be soldiers. However, he does feel something towards them.

When you see the relationship with Gamora and you see that evolves, God I wish I could tell you. I can’t! When directors Joe and Anthony Russo came up to me after we had done maybe three quarters of the film, they said, “It wasn’t necessarily intended that you feel for this guy as much as you do.” Obviously he has a grand plan, like somebody who’s pulling in kids for their own selfish bloodshed. But he has a capacity to love very much and very deeply.

It may seem strange, to think of Thanos and believe in this massive capacity to love and to hear that the Russo brothers think fans will be able to ‘feel for him’ but we’re keeping an open mind. In terms of why he’s so damaged, Brolin had this to say.

He’s different from his family. They’re all Titans and they all look similar, but he was born deformed. You see how he grew up, you see he was like the Quasimodo of this time, or if you’ve ever read Perfume [Patrick Süskind ‘s 1985 novel about a serial killer who craves beautiful scenes but is disgusted by the smell of humanity], it’s a great parallel to Thanos. He stuck out. He was an anomaly. He was a freak. And that lent to this apparent insanity.

We have to admit we’re still thinking the worst when it comes to Thanos and what evil rests within him. However, if the Russo brothers can be surprised then so can we. Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on April 27th.


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Ashley Dye
'...but I knew him'