Before It Heads to Cannes, See the First Poster for the Emily Blunt-Led Sicario

Film, Emily Blunt

The Cannes Film Festival begins tomorrow and one of this year’s most anticipated features is Denis Villeneuve‘s follow-up to 2014’s Enemy, Sicario. Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro, the official synopsis of the film goes as follows:

In Mexico, SICARIO means hitman.

In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent [Emily Blunt] is enlisted by an elite government task force official [Josh Brolin] to aid in the escalating war against drugs.

Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past [Benicio Del Toro], the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.

“It’s a movie about choices,” Del Toro, who plays a hitman, says about the movie. “It’s tough to say whether any character in ‘Sicario’ is truly good or bad. Do the means justify the ends? What happens when go into a situation where you want to kill one guy and you kill 20 innocent people? You got the bad guy, but at what cost?”

Check out the new poster for the film below and read our interview with Villeneuve’s HERE.


See the Official First Poster for Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ Remake

Fresh off the heat of his English-language debut—the thrilling and seductive Stoker, we’re reminded that director Park Chan-wook’s most acclaimed and beloved film is finally going to have an American remake of its own. But hese days, it’s difficult to get excited about the incessant remakes and Hollywood adaptations—but when it’s Spike Lee, we’ll make an exception. And with the new retelling of Director Park’s Oldboy, we’ll see Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley in a film penned by Mark Protosevich.

Described as both "provocative and visceral," Lee’s adaptation will see Brolin as  an advertising executive who is abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his bizarre and torturous punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment. And now, FilmDistrict has released the official new poster for the "Spike Lee Joint" that showcases the 20 marks for 20 long years. 

Oldboy will hit theaters October 11th, so in the meantime check out the poster below and brush up on the original to get yourself acquainted.


Frank Ocean Is the Face of Band of Outsiders’ Latest Ad Campaign

Joining a rather eclectic group of talents from Amy Adams to Ed Ruscha to Rupert Grint, to last year’s campaign featuring Josh Brolin gnawing on Big League Chew and playing with toy soldiers, singer and songwriter Frank Ocean is the newest face of fashion house Band of Outsiders, appearing in a new series of Polaroid-shot ads for the brand.

Ocean’s a fan of Band of Outsiders from the looks of things, having appeared in a bold Band of Outsiders shirt in a shoot for Terry Richardson’s Diary last spring and stealing the show at this past Grammy Awards a custom yellow Band tuxedo. In the new set of photos released yesterday, taken by brand manager and photographer Scott Sternberg, he dons a more classic tux and poses outside the Los Angeles Times Building in downtown L.A. He grins, he flips the bird, he lies on a bench, it’s all very sun-drenched and lovely. But boy, does it look hot in that tux. More photos will be released through the Band blog, Tumblr and Instagram accounts throughout the week.

[via L.A. Times]

‘Gangster Squad’ Is the Most January Movie Ever

Any seasoned cinephile is familiar with the January Movie: something genre-driven, with a kind of gray or bluish tint, that wouldn’t even register were it not released in the dead of winter, when we’ve already seen everything good but still don’t want to sit around the living room making conversation. Gangster Squad, I am pleased to report, takes this underwhelming formula to new heights lows middles.

First up, of course, you’ve got A-list talent wandering around doing laughable noir voices—Josh Brolin is a notch below Michael Shannon’s Boardwalk Empire growl, and Ryan Gosling landed near Al Pacino’s high-pitched Godfather. The ultraviolence is a Dashiell Hammett novel rendered as Itchy & Scratchy cartoon. Oh, and never have so many dudes fired WWII-era machine guns at people five feet away and missed entirely.

It’s Sean Penn who should be really pissed, though: easily the most impotent bad-guy super-mobster in half a century. The Terminator-like good guys (seriously, one of them is Robert Patrick, who played the T-1000) basically destroy his empire throughout the movie as he rages helplessly in a mansion and never comes close to exacting any adequate revenge. Plus, terrible makeup. And it looks like they ran out of money in the final fight scene, so it’s just a bunch of dark, grainy footage that Michael Mann may have cut from Public Enemies? All it was missing, really, was a labored nod to Chinatown. Just kidding! That’s in there, too. 

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‘Gangster Squad’ Cast Gets a Noir Makeover

2012 has been an interesting year for cinema—both for Hollywood and independent film. We’ve fallen in love with indie wonders and foreign hits like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Sound of My Voice, and Holy Motors, while still getting swept up in Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, and Argo. But as it’s only the second week in December, there’s still Django Unchained, Amour, and Les Miz (set to be released in the coming weeks) to keep us rolling into theaters. But between January’s Sundance Film Festival and the slew of films to be released in the late winter months, we’re looking to the New Year with savory anticipation. And one of the films that seems as if we’ve been waiting forever for to see is Ruben Fleischer’s nod to old Hollywood, Gangster Squad.

After a few set backs along the way—with necessary reshoots, a reworked finale, and marketing change—the film will finally burst into theatres on January 11 and we’re excited to see what the cast of leading men and Emma Stone (in a role that looks to be a more siren-esque than we’ve seen her before) will deliver for us. The 1949-set gangster film stars Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, and Anthony Mackie in a flashy shoot-em-up crowd-pleaser that tells the story of LAPD officers fighting to keep the East Coast mafia off their golden streets.

As an added promotional bonus for the film, photographer Estevan Oriol rounded up the cast for a series of minimalistically stylish and slick black and white portraits that harken back to the leading men of classic noir. But looking at these great photos, you can’t help but wonder—what if Fleischer had chosen to shoot the film with this aesthetic? What if the film was filled with some Gordon Willis-esque shadowplay and say, Cliff Martinez and Max Richter covering the music for the film? What if he took the pacing down a notch, with less explosions and thrills and more smokey simmering? Damn, that would have been good. But maybe this will be too! I have only seen the trailers afterall. Either way, check out the photos from the shoot and two additional featurettes






Azealia Banks Channels Josh Brolin in New Video

In “212,” Azealia Banks wanted to “kick it with your bitch that come from Parisian,” but her new video for “Liquorice” is all Americana. In the Nicola Formichetti-styled clip, she poses with a baseball bat while sporting a stars-and-stripes bikini/jean shorts combo, as well as showing off a variety of cowgirl-goth looks. Can you say No Country? There’s also a furry blue cape that we wish we could pull off. Her fast-paced rhymes are balanced with slow-motion shots, and director Rankin’s high fashion take on a Western film ends with Banks dueling against a surprise opponent.

The 1991 EP is out now on Interscope/Polydor.

Josh Brolin on Lindsay Lohan, ‘The Goonies’, and Shooting Paparrazzi

Here’s the thing about our June/July cover story on Josh Brolin: sometimes you can’t get all the great lines in a piece, especially when that piece has a specific gist (the gist, in this case, is that Josh Brolin’s genetic material has determined his destiny, though he is struggling, as man does against fate, to define it for himself). But over the course of the day and a few hours I spent with him, he said many more interesting things. Some of these were about Lindsay Lohan. Some of them were about his wedding, in 2004, to Diane Lane. Herewith, the best lines that didn’t make it in.

On Thievery, The Goonies, and Paying It Forward
“I was never a good thief when I was a kid, but I grew up with a lot of guys that did that kind of shit, and I stole a little, too. It was easy stuff: sneaking around back from the liquor store and stealing booze. When I got paid from doing The Goonies—which wasn’t a lot of money but it was to me at the time—I went back to all the people and stores I stole from and handed them some cash. I went to that liquor store and paid back the clerk. He probably just pocketed it—it didn’t matter. It was a redemptive thing because I always felt like it was going to bite me in the ass, and I wanted to try and minimize that as much as possible.”

On Shooting at Paparazzi with Shotguns
“When Diane and I got married, a publicist said, ‘I think there should be security for you guys.’ My belief is that the more you use, the more you ask for an influx of unwanted people. So Diane and I were talking about it and I said, ‘I really don’t want to do that, but if it’s a necessity, I will.’ I couldn’t picture guys talking into their sleeves at the ranch during the wedding. But I had another idea. I know a couple of cowboys that could get on horseback and walk the perimeter of the area of the ranch while we were getting married and look out for any unwanted people. They all had shotguns filled with salt shot. So I called the sheriff because I didn’t want to do anything too illegal. I told him that in a couple of weeks I was going to get married. He said, ‘Yeah, I know what you’re doin’.’ We had kept it so secret, so I don’t know how he knew. I said, ‘Oh, okay, good. So if any of these people come up and try and take pictures, how do you feel if Clint or Rick or those guys shoot at these people if they’re on the property?’ There was the longest pause I’ve ever experienced, and then he said, ‘It’s deer season. I don’t give a shit what you do.’”

On Lindsay Lohan and Negative Attention
“I don’t know how Lindsay Lohan does it. If anything, she has the gift of some massive denial system or a foundation that’s just unbreakable because it’s just constant. Apparently she likes it. She keeps putting herself out there.”

Josh Brolin Brings the Cinematic Return of the American Man

Paso Robles, a town of 22,000 on California’s Central Coast where the actor Josh Brolin has a horse ranch, lives, and spent his formative years, owes its existence to an accident of plate tectonics. In ancient times, Salinan Indians stopped there, where cracks in the Earth let sulfur-charged waters bubble through the crust to form thermal springs. They called the place simply “Springs.” In 1797, the Spanish—lured by the heathens and hot water—founded a mission. Soon, the Indians were either assimilated or destroyed, and a steady flow of pioneers, gold-seekers, almond growers, ranchers, and consumptive Californians in need of a soak replaced them.

When Brolin was growing up in Paso in the early seventies—before he awakened lust in the hearts of a generation of gum-popping tweens, before he got lost in the brambles of what he calls his “lean years,” before he finally came in from the cold—the hillocks, valleys, and ridges of Paso Robles were covered in prairie grass, horse tracks, and little else. Barbed wire, perhaps, and the wide open spaces of cowboy vowels. “I don’t know why,” Brolin tells me, “but in Paso everybody sounds like they’re from Texas.”

Brolin might be referring to what the comedian David Cross once called “redneck voice,” the twangy rural accent that spans the Mason-Dixon Line and stretches from coast to coast. But the line is also about as good a gloss of the actor as you can get: Brolin is a Hollywood star but he seems real country. Few actors can summon the ghosts of the unvarnished American West as well as he can, and yet few actors can claim a Hollywood lineage as illustrious as his. The dusty air of a threadbare life clings to him, and yet his father, James Brolin, is James Brolin, the famous actor. Tumbleweed seems to trail his footsteps, and yet his stepmother, Barbra Streisand, is a fairly well–known singer and actress. His gristle and growl seem ground–in from a life of long rides through mountain passes, yet Brolin has ridden that bronco called fame—sometimes getting bucked off but always getting back on—straight since the age of 17, when he debuted as Brand, Sean Astin’s heart-throbby older brother in The Goonies. Remixes of his famous kiss with Kerri Green in a cave litter YouTube like so many dead stock cans of New Coke, hissing for release.

But that Josh Brolin—face unbeaten by Santa Ana winds, limbs not yet thickened with age, voice pinched and overall just a little silly—is not the Josh Brolin of today. The Josh Brolin who walks into The Monkey Bar in New York City early one April morning seems to have wandered off the back lot of a mythic American past. He lopes with the slightly pigeon-toed, bow-legged gait of a cowboy. His arms, unusually long, pendulum slowly. Even his goatee, so often the facial hair of a clown, does little to besmirch the handsomeness of his face.

Much of this unshakeable cowboy aura is due to Brolin’s role as Llewelyn Moss in Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country For Old Men, a role so perfectly fit it uncovered what felt like the real man. Much of this is due to Brolin’s not inconsiderable skill as an actor. Much of it is determined by our own need for an American hero who wears denim, not Spandex, and who hides his face not behind a mask but under the shadow cast by the brim of a Stetson. But how much of it is true?

Josh Brolin, a man of 44 who lives with his second wife, the actor Diane Lane, on a horse ranch in Paso Robles and plays the young Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black 3, owes much of his current fame to an accident of skeletal structure. “There’s no way, looking the way I look, not to try to find a niche for me,” Brolin says. “I have this Easter Island skull,” he says, tapping at it with his thick finger, “and I can see casting directors say, ‘Thank God we have a man. There’s not many left.’” That skull, with its broad brow so often furrowed, square jaw oft clenched, and deep–set eyes always squinting, seems to be custom built to convey the forebearing silence of the American man.

But physiognomy is the source of only half of Brolin’s weathered, wind–bitten looks. The man has lived hard enough to blister paint from the rails. He got his first tattoo, of his initials, on his back at 14. He got his second, his initials in Korean, covering up his first at age 16. But his troubles began when he left Paso. “When I moved down to L.A. after The Goonies, I had this country identity. But what was I supposed to do, walk around in cowboy boots?” One can almost hear the opening riff of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” and see an 18–year–old Brolin strolling down the 405 in a pair of stingray ropers.

Instead, Brolin went punk. He covered up his initials with a tattoo of a tiger, got Jesus tattoed on one arm and an Indian on the other. He wore a Mohawk and fell in with a group of SoCal punks in a band called Rich Kids on LSD. “I was just trying to be something,” he explains, “to find some weight.” He partied hard, with all the chemical implications partying hard in Santa Barbara in the late ’80s brings, and acted in one terrible film called Thrashin’ about a skateboarder. “It was a very self-destructive group, and it was a self-destructive time,” he says. “Basically 80 percent of the guys that I grew up with died.”

Brolin’s fate diverged from his cohort when he had his first child, Trevor, at age 20 with his then– girlfriend Alice Adair. “I went from the Paso ranch to Santa Barbara punk to becoming a dad. And as soon as I had my first kid, I started shedding the weight,” says Brolin.“I didn’t need it anymore.” Though he was saved from imminent destruction, his career, for a very long time after that, was mired in the character–actor twilight.

From recent accounts of Josh Brolin’s career, one might imagine that he did nothing between The Goonies and No Country except putter about his ranch, mend fences, and practice staring into the sunset. He did in fact do all of those things, but he also was working as any other working man might: non-stop. The longest break between movies was only three years, and projects, though spotty, were constant. “I went through 20 odd years very frustrated,” he says, his voice gaining a slight edge. “I didn’t make a lot of money and there were some years that were really, really tough.”

As Brolin toiled in bit parts in genre films, time—relentless time—and the California sun lacquered his skin, kneaded deep furrows around his eyes, and eroded the weight he had clung to as a young man. He gradually built a niche for himself, playing the sorts of western men with whom he had spent his childhood, and with whom he spent his days, but of whom he knew he never was. When faced with the question, Brolin sharply replies, “I am an actor, that’s what I do. I don’t pretend to be something else.”

At age 31, he began to have his tattoos removed. First Jesus, then the Indian. “I needed to be weightless,” he explained. He began to lose himself in roles and conversely began edging toward the flame. His future grew brighter. In 2004, Woody Allen cast him in Melinda and Melinda. In 2007, Robert Rodriguez tapped him to play Dr. William Block in Planet Terror, one-half of the Grindhouse double feature he directed with Quentin Tarantino. Brolin played a police detective in Paul Haggis’ In the Valley of Elah, a critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful story of friendly fire. That same year, the Coens cast Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, and the accolades began to accumulate like dust on the broadside of a barn. Thus the second coming of Josh Brolin began. Or, at least, that’s how the story goes. Ask Josh Brolin and Josh Brolin narrows his eyes and squints at you, and a little bit of his natural goofiness turns hard. “I was basically written off as a blue–collar actor, a guy who just made a living who had a dad that made a living and had some fame early on,” he says, “to a guy who they wanted to praise and say, ‘Wow the Coen brothers found him! He came out of nowhere and his career was almost over and they saved him…’ I find it a little insulting.”

The shadow of Llewelyn Moss,which one is tempted to call the apotheosis of Brolin’s career, looms over Josh Brolin like any masterpiece does its creator. It’s an inheritance and a burden. Since No Country, Brolin has stretched himself to the limits of his craft. He won critical acclaim for the murderous Dan White in Gus Van Sant’s Milk. He lost himself deeply in the soul of the 43rd president in Oliver Stone’s biopic W. To transform himself into a younger Agent K for Men in Black 3, Brolin disappeared to a cheap motel in Sonora and practiced Tommy Lee Jones’ Texas-via-Harvard lilt for three weeks. “There’s actually nothing followable about his accent,” Brolin admits. “It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve heard.”

Yet, it seems all Brolinania tumbles back to the cowboy, the grunter, the American hero. His angle of repose shall evermore by Llewelyn Moss and, for an actor whose goal is weightlessness, that the character has become a millstone around his neck is frustrating. “There are movie stars that everybody raves about if they do something a little bit different. But if you present yourself as somebody who’s willing to go in any direction and all the way in that direction, a lot more is expected of you,” Brolin says, his voice growing louder. “It’s like the dad who never shows up, and then when he does show up, people are impressed. But for the dad who is always there, when he’s not there one time he gets shit for it.” The point is, Brolin is no deadbeat dad and always shows up.

The San Andreas faults run 25 miles east of Paso Robles. It cuts between a schoolhouse and a water tower on Highway 49, as it has for millennia before the schoolhouse, the highway, or the water tower were there. There have been many earthquakes in the area, but none in recent memory have been as bad as the 2003 San Simeon earthquake. It occurred at 11:15am on December 22 and registered 6.5 on the Richter Scale. Brolin says, “That was the worst I’ve ever experienced.” Paso Robles was severely damaged, and two women were killed when a building collapsed on them in the downtown area. “Paso is near a triple fault line, and it’s crazy that people live there,” says Brolin with the blur of fatalism and pride of someone who counts himself among the crazies.

But, of course, if there had been no fault line there’d be no thermal waters, and if it were just hills, stands of oaks, and alluvial planes with no springs, Paso Robles would be nothing at all. The creation of the thing holds within it seeds of its own destruction. Brolin is working to make himself scarce under the depth of his characters, to escape the legacy of his bones, to undo the straightjacket of his weather-beaten skin. Today Brolin’s Jesus is nearly gone, and the Indian has disappeared. The tiger is still on his back, but age has softened its roar. Brolin is more weightless now than he’s ever been, but he’s also never been more substantial.

Photography by Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton
Styling by Christopher Campbell

Josh Brolin Covers Our Upcoming Comeback Issue!

Summer blockbuster season is upon us, and returning this summer are those famous alien-hunting bureaucrats, who are back in Men in Black 3. This time, Will Smith’s Agent J goes back in time to work alongside a young Agent K, played by the brilliantly gruff and rugged Josh Brolin. Brolin’s no stranger to that kind of role—if anything, it’s a stretch for him to be in a comedy. Brolin, of course, has had a decades-long career, starting out as a teen heartthrob in The Goonies. But his roles in recent years—as Llewelyn Moss in No Country for Old Men, Tom Chaney in True Grit, George W. Bush in W.—have defined him as the go-to guy to play the modern cowboy. Has Josh Brolin sparked the return of the American Man? In the cover story of our upcoming June/July issue, BlackBook Editor-in-Chief Joshua David Stein explores Brolin’s career and how he might be one of the last great American men. 

Speaking of returns, Fiona Apple is back with one of the most anticipated albums of the summer: The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do. I’m lucky not only to have gotten an early listen to the new album (spoiler alert: it’s fantastic!), but I also sat down with Apple to talk about working on new music, how much has changed within the music industry since her last album, and that infamous speech she gave at the Video Music Awards. We also went to dinner with Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt, and writer/director Lynn Shelton; the three women discuss their upcoming film, Your Sister’s Sister, and how it shows a different approach to the modern American family. We also check in with Emily Mortimer, star of the upcoming Aaron Sorkin-helmed HBO series The Newsroom, Patrick Duffy, who reflects on the reboot of the classic soap Dallas, and Marina Abramović, whose ground-breaking performance piece The Artist is Present is the subject of a new documentary.

You’ll also get a look at the fantastic new films, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Lawless, as well as the hotel openings in Chile and Morocco, the sophistication of Las Vegas, and the apparent classiness of Atlantic City. And there’s plenty more we can’t even describe in a single blog post! Check out The Comeback Issue, on newsstands early next month, and, as always, check back here for full coverage!