Monday, September 16, 2013

Josh Brolin Talks Inherent Vice, Calls Experience "Absolute Fucking Chaos"



With the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival officially behind us, the swirl of press inevitably left in its wake is now slowly unfurling onto the internet for cinephiles worldwide to consume. As a consequence, David Poland, whose utterly invaluable "DP/30" series tracks down a major player from just about every significant film from these festivals and talks candidly on camera with them for a half hour, sat down with Inherent Vice-star Josh Brolin, who was there promoting his work in Jason Reitman's Labor Day. As you may have guessed would happen over the course of thirty minutes, the conversation meandered a bit toward Brolin's past, present, and future projects near the middle, and here's what he had the following to say about working with Paul Thomas Anderson around the 14:40 mark (transcribed (roughly) by yours truly):

[Reitman] always seems to get these performances out of people--
Which is incredible... Because I can't go back and say, "Oh Jason does this thing," whereas like Paul Thomas Anderson, having just worked with him... [it's like]  let's go this way, or let's whisper the lines, and let's actually take out all the lines and we'll do it like charades once. Or, you know, like, hold him -- put him on your shoulders and let's do the whole scene like that. He's all over the place. It's just absolute fucking chaos every day, all day. Which is great, 'cause you feel like you've done something. But, you know, we'll see how it turns out.
Do you have a preference for all of that --
No... they're isolated experiences. They just are what they are, you know? I appreciate Jason's just as much as I appreciate Paul's. I think I'm more attuned to Paul's...even though that was crazy and nuts and created insecurity and this and that, this created a different, very much deeper insecurity and vulnerability... 'cause you just wanna hide.

Later in the interview (around 17:40), Brolin brings it back to PTA.

I see Paul, after this movie that we just did, and he was just exhausted, man. Exhausted. Like, he just took off and died somewhere, you know? Not literally, but figuratively. 
Crawled into an editing room somewhere --
Crawled into an editing room. But he was into it. He called me in the middle of the night, goes, dude I'm working on this thing, it looks amazing, it's so cool. It's like a kid. It's like being around a bunch of kids. That's fun.
It's exciting that he's working so quickly.
Yeah.
For him, that's a big deal.
I know, right? It is a big deal. I know, I know. Yeah. No, it was a lot of fun. Joaquin's amazing. Amazing. I love him.

Damn skippy. Have a happy Monday, everybody.

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44 comments:

  1. excellent post but what a Fucking Terrible quote to use for the title. Brolin is clearly looking back at the experience with admiration

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    1. It didn't strike me as an inherently negative thing, but I can see where you're coming from.

      Might switch it in a few.

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    2. it seemed to me to be inherently vice-y

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    3. fuck it this is gonna be so epic

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    4. I felt it was a negative thing too for some reason, but I'm so glad it wasn't, cause I love Brolin and I didn't want to put him on my naughty list lol.

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  2. He's very cool and candid here. The way he describes Inherent Vice process reminds me of how people were describing what it was like on the set of The Master

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  3. He was a very inspired choice for Bigfoot no one saw it coming but it has grown on me the most since I reread IV I think he's going to be amazing

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  4. I like Brolin. He's come a long way since Mouth, Data, and Chunk used gym equipment to tie him up in the Goonies. I wonder if he still believes that if god had put our dicks on wrong side up we'd all be pissin' in our faces. I think I'm gonna take in one more viewing of this Brolin interview...while I do the truffle shuffle!!!!

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  5. absolute fucking chaos could be an alternative title to inherent vice...brolin said it perfect

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  6. yay --> "He called me in the middle of the night, goes, dude I'm working on this thing, it looks amazing, it's so cool"

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  7. Alright, who gives a shit? He's handsome. Who gives a fuck?

    Get Jack Nicholson, Mr. PTA - Jack's back --> http://moviepilot.com/stories/1117436-jack-nicholson-isn-t-retired-relax?stamp=41212&utm_campaign=jack-nicholson-says-he-hasn-t-retired-only-wants-to-make-movies-that-move-people&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=fb-channel-legendary-directors

    Cheers!

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    1. A. Brolin is not exactly who I think of when I think of "handsome actors" in fact, he's kind of ugly (but also gruff and badass)

      B. he's a hell of a great actor I loved him in flirting with disaster

      C. Remember when Nicholson and PTA were going to make an indian casino movie together? What happened with that?

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    2. i really think in my heart that jack will work with pta..i mean he starred in the departed not because he particularly wanted but because he wanted to work with scorsese and then he didn;t want to star in nebraska and while there is no reason involved i think it was because he already worked with payne

      i'd like to think he is just waiting a call from paul

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  8. Hey also Jillian Bell (Jillian on Workaholics who also had a small part in the Master) has signed on for inherent vice, but her part is not much bigger than it was in The Master

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  10. Welp, damn skippy.

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  11. Is anyone honestly a fan of PTA's Smoke and Mirrors phase? What's with the obtuse-ness of his shit now? The structure and mechanics of the screenplays are clouding the heart. TWBB and The Master feel profound but at the end of the day they aren't. I hope IV departs from these past two movies. It's getting really tiring fast.

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    1. Ha! His only two movies in the last ten years? If you think it's getting tiring, okay, but it sure ain't happening fast. ;)

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    2. Yeah when the movies are like 2 hr 15 mins plus...I liked TWBB but the obvious discordance in the music and slow like molasses pace feels pretentious. It's self-aware in the way he wrote the character. There are lines that we know that PTA is smiling behind the camera but it's not self-aware in it's simplistic take on power and wealth and coupling that with a tone that screams "This is a GREAT movie". It's better than most movies recently but it's not all that he can give. It also coincides with a period in which PTA took on a noted change in his personality. The "yeahhhh, it's great man, just great, yeah..." that was like what the fuck. When he was doing press for TWBB I thought he was on something. PTA is a really important director and I root for him. But he's retreated. Maybe some outside pressure got to him I don't know. But the noted departure with TWBB was odd and sorry I'm not the biggest fan. I'm a minor one at best. Take it or leave it. That's my two cents....Hope that IV is a clear shift away from this stuff.

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    3. Honestly, as hugely important as PTA is to me, I understand this criticism. My favorite of PTA is easily Boogie Nights and Magnolia, and it is clear that he goes through different phases in his filmography. Whether this is the result of him growing up, or he always had these movies in mind since he was young and just didn't get to make them until now who knows. I love PTA, I love PDL, TWBB, and The Master, but there is a clear change in style from film to film and I definitely prefer his earlier works but I also love that there is absolutely no way to anticipate what his next movie is going to be like

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    4. Thanks for replying with understanding. I say this to some PTA fans and they get all defensive of him as if he can do no wrong.........To me, his previous movies had many effects and tricks and he wanted that feeling in his films. But throughout all of them he seemed to be saying generally 'in this crazy mixed up world there is humanity, love, genuine caring. It's not everywhere and it's not common but it does exist. And you will find it" That's not all he was saying but you get my point. But TWBB lacked that strong underpinning. The Master did have the heartfelt father/son relationship but PTA's smoke and mirrors was in service of something else. The film led you to believe that with the penultimate scene Freddie visits Master in London. But ultimately comes down with a similar (though not the same and better) defeated stance of TWBB. That Freddie is just meant to be alone. Plainview is destined to live alone as well. The characters both end up alone (Quell to a lesser degree but still). In all of his previous movies, the ending has the two main characters (Sydney/John, Dirk/Jack, John C. Reilly & Melora Walters, and Barry/Lena) forming what is assumed to be a lifelong meaningful connection. There's a sense hope in their personal lives...Why the change? Why is he suddenly become a different kind of determinist that assumes these people must live their lives alone? If D Plainview met some people as greedy as him, hell they'd get along swimingly.(see below) (Which is another fault of the movie: PTA wants to make it so grand and epic and Great that he wants us to believe that he's THE Greediest. Sort of a "bad apple" fallacy)....But I'd like to say that The Master does have MUCH more of this underpinning. Freddie is happy alone and that's alright. The Master had a connection with him but Freddie is content to roam. Ok I respect that.....The Master is definitely a better movie than TWBB....Both are simplistic underneath all the smoke and mirrors though....RE: TWBB. The temptation to condemn the greedy (greediest?) man to a lonely life of solitude was just too much for PTA and he succumbed. Rex Tillerman and the other greediest oil men in the world are living it up! Wooo hoo-ing it. Yes, yes there may be some powerful people who are so misanthropic and greedy that they can't even associate with their own class but this is definitely the exception. TWBB needs to expand it's vision to convey that being really fucking greedy and misanthropic towards average people does not eventually resign you to a life a sad solitude. It opens diamond encrusted doors to a whole upper echelon of people who are just as greedy as you! Slimy people you can scheme with to get more wealth and power! Alright Uh-Huh Wooooo!................I'll say that The Master is a better step away from TWBB and IV need to be leaps away. I think I've made clear that TWBB is his worst movie. I'll stop now. Hope people take this criticism seriously and in good faith.

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    5. I don't gather that PTA "wants" Daniel and Freddy to end up alone; rather, Daniel, for example, creates his own, closed-off world [I wouldn't say he's lonely, though. "I may be alone; but, I am not lonely," to quote DeNiro in Heat] just due to his personality.

      Freddy, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily end up alone. Rather, he is free. He may travel alone, and experience most of his life alone; but, I never got the sense PTA wanted him to be alone. I took Freddy as more of a kind of Diogenes-esque character: a person of the world. Yes, he has misgivings in his character [stealing, alcoholic, etc.]; but, he's also honest -- as was Daniel. The main difference is that Daniel is far more inclusive; and Freddy was far more accepting [naive, even].

      Again, PTA's message with TWBB isn't necessarily misathropy leads to a "sad solitude"; that's all Daniel's doing. It seems fairly obvious in his character that he's more lone-wolf.

      Eitherway, I do appreciate The Master more than TWBB; but, I think they're both great works.

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    6. All I want to say re: TWBB and solitude is that it's okay if PTA wants to make that movie about the lone-wolf. But he needs to show in a scene or two that greed doesn't lead to you necessarily being alone. It in fact gets you into a class of people who share your greed. That's all. Just a scene or two. Maybe with the barons of other industries such as banking, iron, whatever..............But to me, the sad solitude thing means that PTA has written/directed it in a way that by the last line ("I'm finished") we in the audience can pity the billionaire. He's got all this cool stuff but his life is hollow. It's an easy way out for me. It's simple, ties this world up in a bow. I think a more radical movie wasn't in PTA honestly.

      Also, your assumption of Daniel as honest I think speaks volumes as to your reading. People like DP are the reason we can't have nice things. No apologies for him are needed. Guy sold his son off, bilked average everyday folks (using his son), and killed a man! I don't know about you but I mean there's a line I draw. Maybe PTA's tone of humanism extended a little to far if you think that.

      Thanks for debating in good faith. Stay up.

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    7. I don't recall saying Daniel is honest [because he isn't]; I did say Freddy was honest, however.

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    8. "Yes, he has misgivings in his character [stealing, alcoholic, etc.]; but, he's also honest -- as was Daniel"

      If I'm interpreting that wrong, let me know how. Maybe I'm just not getting what you mean....Don't get the following sentence too.

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  12. In fact, my favourite PTA movies are his last three ones, being TWBB one of the top masterpieces ever made, so, it's allways subjective, in my opinion, IV should keep the style, the elegance, the impressive formalism and the bizarre acting and music that his last movies kept, mainly TWBB and The Master.

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  13. Would you say 'it's always subjective' to someone who genuinely liked The Room better than There Will Be Blood?

    No offense but 'it's always subjective' is pretty much the definition of a platitude.

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    1. I think when the guy you replied to said 'it's always subjective', it was a polite way of saying that he thinks your opinion sucks.

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    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9EhvDAMjWc

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    3. When I'm saying that is always subjective I mean something as simple as you will never find the moving deepness, the astronomic beauty or the most genuine humanity that I find in movies like There Will Be Blood or The Master, you can say they're not linear, you can say they're boring and slow, you can say you don't like the music, but sorry my friend, saying such things is the same limited way as saying that composers like Ligeti only make noise and what they do can't be catalogued as art, for me, movies like The Master or TWBB are the top of the tops that can be made today, because they make me pass for such different emotions and experiences that I'm used to and with such a genuine and human side to. As you can see, it's always subjective, and if a guy genuinely liked The Room better than There Will Be Blood I will have nothing against, because I'm no judge of art taste to say what is best and what is worst, and it only helps to understand that these guy who likes better The Room had passed such different experiences than me that made him like better a movie that usually people tease than a masterpiece, and it can be interely true because a human being is a very complex and dense organism and makes me happy that a guy hates what I love, and I love what another guy hates, because if wasn't that the world would be terriblie boring. So "it's always subjective" doesn't mean platitude, but comprehension and understanding that everithyng is more complex than we believe, mainly the tastes of other people. In the end, it doesn't matter if you hope IV will be more like the first ones and I hope it will be more like the last ones, it's what PTA hope.

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    4. Alright I'm not looking to spar. In terms of form in ways I agree with you but in terms of content I don't. There are certain truths and realities that if they aren't there in the screenplay then the movie can in fact be wrong. For example, if a movies assumptions are that blacks are inferior to whites or that women are less intelligent than men, then that is just plain wrong. Sure, it's some people genuinely believe that and it's subjective but come on those people are just plain wrong and they suck. Can we agree on that? That's a basic example....... But expand that to the general impression that TWBB gives towards greed. That the greediest oil man ends up alone. He was so paranoid and protective of his wealth that he alienated everyone. Fine if he wants to write that character study alright. But pta needs to open the film up to convey that being greedy as fuck makes you many many connections with the top .01% of people. Then if he wants to differentiate Plainview from his uber wealthy class fine. Show us why that character needs to live alone with himself in his mansion. It does in fact give false impressions....Yes my wish for him to trim that shit down is subjective and if I didn't like the cinematography (which I did) that would be subjective. But the content can be meaningfully debated and isn't entirely subjective.

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    5. I think you have a simplistic interpretation of the movie. PTA isn't trying to make a grand statement about greed so much as he is trying to study the specific character of Plainview and his battle with Eli. Being alone is something he was after the whole movie, he said it himself when he was with Henry. His greed is a means to that end. I don't think he was content alone, though, I think he was desperately lonely and wanted to connect with someone but felt too alienated to do so. I think he was in need of a family member, someone who has his blood, so he'd have someone he could definitely relate to. He tried to make H.W. his son in part to make buying land easier but also because he just really wanted that connection. This is also the reason he responded the way he did to Henry's arrival.

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  14. Watching "Flirting With Disaster" right now with Josh Brolin.. God thats an underrated movie and performance! I know bigfoot is a gruff and serious character, but Its really great to see Brolin not playing a tough guy in FWD, I hope Brolin works with David O'Russell again.

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  15. he's not really the easiest person to work with ...but he and paul got along very well and his performance is amazing

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  16. little insiders tip, but i'd heard through the water cooler that after Inherent Vice is done with PTA wants to write a movie for Will Ferrell and John C Reilly. Take it with a grain of salt though he might just be brainstorming or talking about something he would maybe want to do

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    1. I think I saw that in either deadline or hollywood reporter. Makes sense he said he wants to make an "airplane" type comedy next

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    2. we all know paul is a fan of the whole will ferrel/paul rudd/appatow gang so it certainly makes sense for a hard rated r comedy ...could be genius just get jim carrey

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  17. Hey Paul, if you're reading this why don't you stop flirting with Josh over the phone and CUT A GODDAMN TRAILER.

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  19. I feel like the guy condemning There Will Be Blood and PTA is really just angry at the 1%. The epic epilogue of that movie is supremely cinematic, dramatic, beautiful. If you are watching that amazing scene with Daniel and Eli and considering to yourself "Where are all his rich friends? I read that rich guys have a bunch of friends. They all share their wealth and don't give a shit about us. Man, PTA sure suckered out of that. Where are the barons and the corporate moguls?" You may have missed the point, And you definitely missed an amazing scene in an amazing movie.

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