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Josh Brolin feels good about nearing 40

LOS ANGELES - In Hollywood's youth-oriented movie business, Josh Brolin is one actor who does not mind growing old -- he says it feels good to be nearing his 40th birthday.

Brolin currently stars in film drama "No Country for Old Men" from writers/directors Joel and Ethan Coen. The movie debuted in major cities two weeks ago and begins a nationwide run on Wednesday with hopes of vying for Oscars.

The son of James Brolin -- a television actor and husband of Barbra Streisand -- Josh turns 40 in February.

Raised outside Hollywood on a California ranch, the younger Brolin has built a varied career on his own, and this fall is commanding attention in dramas "In the Valley of Elah" and "American Gangster."

If "No Country" climbs box office charts and does compete for awards as expected in Hollywood, its success will be in no small part due to Brolin's performance as an aging Texas cowboy with one shot to get rich by stealing a drug dealer's money.

Brolin told Reuters that with age comes maturity and with that, greater insight and depth to the roles he plays, as well as to his own writing and directing when he is not acting.

"It's exciting for me," he said. "I'm not excited for my bones exactly, but I am excited for my brain and my emotions.

"Plus, you get to where you don't mind being embarrassed or humiliated on set to find an emotion or do justice to a role. It's a lot less self-conscious, which is freeing."

Initially in "No Country," which is based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy, audiences are led to believe Brolin's character, Llewelyn Moss, is either greatly lucky or incredibly dumb when he stumbles onto a crime scene and takes a suitcase full of cash.

PEELING AWAY CHARACTER

As the movie plays out, Moss is tracked by a local sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) and a homicidal maniac (Javier Bardem) who wants his money back. To avoid both, Moss transforms from dimwit to a resourceful man focused on seizing his one chance at a better life for himself and his wife.

"I like characters that you stereotype at the start as one way, but all those images get shaved away," Brolin said.

Given his father's career, the younger Brolin could have taken a fast track to Hollywood stardom and, in fact, he began acting as a teenager in big-budget 1985 movie "The Goonies."

Then came a series of TV roles, but it wasn't until he spent five years working with the Reflections Festival at the GeVa Theater in Rochester, New York, that he said he truly came out from under his father's shadow.

At the festival, he was mentored by actor Anthony Zerbe and encouraged to not only act but to write and direct, as well.

"I felt like I had established my own thing. At one point, my father was interviewed and said, 'Well, Josh and I are both veterans now,' and I went, 'whoa, that's weird.'" Brolin said.

Over the years, Brolin has chosen leading men and character roles on television and in big- and low-budget movies. He has seen hits and misses, and said he looks not at potential box office for roles he chooses, but at the quality of parts, the writing and the team of actors, producers and director.

Source: Reuters

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Article publication date: 20 Pluviôse Ray80 (21 Nov 2007)

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