There are two kinds of actors in Hollywood: those who go along with everything the producers tell them without question, and those who question every aspect of a film they’re working on and criticize them after the fact. Josh Brolin, the actor known for playing genocidal villain Thanos in the last two films of The Avengers series, is now criticizing Marvel long after his time with the studio has passed. He has recently lobbied some scathing criticism at the Marvel filmmaking process following his work and appearance in Dune, which came out in theaters and HBO Max last Friday.
In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Josh Brolin talked about the difference between acting in a powerhouse movie franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and working with director Denis Villeneuve. Villeneuve previously made the movie Blade Runner 2049 but today he’s making headlines for his work on Dune. The new adaptation was made in such a way that it is faithful to the original source material. This also helped produce a script that didn’t change much once the actors saw it. Brolin explained that the producers frequently changed the script during the making of The Avengers: Infinity War and The Avengers: Endgame, which baffled him and some of the other actors on set.
“[They give you] everything. There was none of that, by the way, they did with Marvel also, the only thing is Marvel is, once in a while, I started to pick up on why do they keep changing it when we get to the set?” Josh Brolin said, explaining that the producers would keep script details very close to the chest until the movie was released in theaters. “Because they would release pages to make you think it was one thing, and then you would change it and do it, and it was annoying.” From what he said, it sounded like the actor had a difficult time explaining the situation. It also sounds like he was frustrated with the way the movie changed day to day while working with Marvel.
For Dune, Josh Brolin said he worked with Denis Villeneuve to make the film as close to Frank Herbert’s legendary sci-fi novel of the same name as possible. The details of the script were no secret to him and the film’s set was massive compared to the scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. “But with this, it’s all out there, you have a book, you have source material, it’s kind of tough to hide it, even though it’s a very loyal adaptation, there’s some things that are changed, there’s some things that are ad-lib,” he said. “Because it kind of has its own life, but no. And it’s all practical, we’re on sets that you’re looking at, you’re in the middle of these massive sets, the production design was on a massive scale, whereas Marvel, it’s kind of up to your imagination, both are equally fascinating and deserve a lot of focus, but very different.”
Josh Brolin’s Dune director, Denis Villeneuve, had his own take on Marvel’s creative process. He knows the movies only as a viewer, but his opinion isn’t favorable. According to MovieWeb, he angered Marvel Cinematic Universe fans when he said that the studio used a copy and paste format for all of its films that turned audiences into “zombies” that keep coming back for more of the same type of material.
To the relief of fans of the novel, the new adaptation is doing nearly as well at the box office as Marvel films often do. Dune has grossed over $182 million at the international box office, and it racked up $41 million on its opening weekend in the U.S. (via The Numbers). In another interview with ACE Universe, Josh Brolin called Dune a “cinematic masterpiece,” praising the way Denis Villeneuve would hold the characters and the world to their highest potential and “do justice to the story.”