Josh Brolin


  1. Johnny Depp, 21 Jump Street, TV, 1987-90.    The role: Young undercover cop Tom Hanson. Even in leather jacket and  greasy hair, the unknown non-actor impressed creator Patrick Hasburgh enough for him to convince co-creator   Stephen  J Cannell away  from Josh – compensated with  a guest  shot in  the fourth episode, My Future’s So Bright, I Gotta  Wear  Shades. Cannell said  Depp was always  “on a different kind of rocket ship.” While Brolin (like Benicio Del Toro) used to be  among the worst auditioners on record.
  2. Casper Van Dien, Starship Troopers, 1996.  Brolin auditioned, James Marsden and Mark Wahlberg simply passed on being Johnny Rico – whether the great Paul Verhoeven (succeeding James Cameron) was directing or not!  Brolin was hired by the Dutch director for Hollow Man, 1999.
  3. Sam Rockwell, The Green Mile, 1998.    Brolin auditioned for  the psychotic convict,  “Wild Bill” Wharton in  the supernatural companion piece to The Shawshank Redemptipn, 1993.  Rockwell tested, too. And, as usual, he nailed it – and made this 67th of King’s staggering 313 screen credits.
  4. Sam Worthington, Terminator Salvation, 2008.    When Christian Bale preferred playing John Connor, Brolin passed on Marcus Wright.  Well, he was a murderer from the past, awakened from cryogenic sleep – “What day is it? What year?” The original’s director James Cameron recommended his Avatar star, Worthington. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to participate, saying a cameo would be cheating the fans. “Thank God,” he said later. “It sucked!”  He returned for Terminator: Genisys, 2014.  No better. Well, China loved it!
  5. Mark Ruffalo, Shutter Island, 2009.     The “old firm” of director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Di Caprio also considered  Robert Downey Jr for the role of Leo’s cop partner,  Chuck Aule.
  6. Adrien Brody, Predators, 2009.  Brolin, Freddy Rodriguez, Milo Ventimiglia were also in the mix for Royce, the soldier-of-fortune leader of a  bunch  of savage hit men warriors hunted by aliens.  In the 1994 script that Rodriguez had  designed as “a big bad sequel to the 1987 and 1990 originals, not the recent Alien vs. Predator franchise.”   (Freddy and Robert are not kin). 
  7. Patrick Wilson, Young Adult, 2010.     Josh was (apparently) first choice for the luckless husband and father   trapped in the  Machiavellian moves of his jealous ex, Charlize Theron.  She stole the entire comedie noir.
  8. Ben Affleck, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2015.
  9. Vince Vaughn, True Detective (Season 2), 2015. The second season could never match the impact and huge viewership – averaging 11.9m – of the first HBO season. They were both written by exec producer Nic Pizzolatti and even if the second show was better, no one would say so as the first had long since entered the pantheon alongside The Sopranos, Oz, The Wire, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Last time, two cop guys; this time, guy and gal. They were considered a flop. The locale changed from Southern to West Coast noir, still owing everything to Elmore Leonard. Brolin, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt were in the frame for Vaughn’s career criminal. 
  10. Adam Driver, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, 2017.
  11. Jon Hamm, No Sudden Move, 2020.    Another bunch of thieves from director Steven Soderberg.  Not any Ocean’s 14, although George Clooney was originally on board… until the Covid-19 pandemic messed up schedules. That’s also why Brolin had to withdraw – he’d started his delayed Outer Range series.  Enter: One Mad man.  Soderberg also lost Nicolas Cage, John Cena, Sebastian Stan – but still had two of  Danny Ocean’s gang: Don Cheadle and Matt Damon.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  11