How Benedict Cumberbatch Convinced Josh Brolin to Take on Thanos

With Avengers: Infinity War winding down its box office run, Josh Brolin has been promoting his new movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado, where he gave some interesting details about how he took the role of Thanos. During an interview on Sirius XM, Brolin revealed he had never done a motion-capture performance before, but he was convinced to take the leap, in part, by watching his co-star Benedict Cumberbatch portray the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which showed him he could provide a nuanced performance that Thanos needed through the motion capture technology. Here’s what he had to say.

“I saw Benedict Cumberbatch do, I think it was for The Hobbit and I looked on YouTube when I was deciding whether I wanted to do it or not, and he was in this mo-cap suit on and he’s in this big warehouse,” the actor said. “He’s crawling around like a snake, snapping his tongue, doing this incredible performance. I saw that and I was like, ‘Okay, that’s the bar. This is not bulls–t. This is something you have to sink your teeth into. Conviction. Embarrassment.’ All that kind of stuff and I decided yeah.”

Josh Brolin first appeared as Thanos in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but the Mad Titan truly didn’t put his plan in motion until this year’s Avengers: Infinity War, where he went to Earth in search of the remaining Infinity Stones. One of the most pivotal scenes in Avengers: Infinity War features both Josh Brolin as Thanos and the man who inspired him, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, who hands over the Time Stone to Thanos, much to the chagrin of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Before Thanos’ arrival, Marvel had been widely criticized for their weak villains, which Brolin said added to the pressure of the role.

“Marvel did this thing always where, the critics actually, were always talking about Marvel villains being the weak point. So, you have that pressure when you started to hear that. I never really knew that. The way that people are reacting to this character as if he truly exists is kind of phenomenal. It’s a phenomenal… I had never done anything like that. Mo-cap. I thought I was gonna be behind a bunch of lights and a bunch of cameras and it wasn’t like that. I was working with people. It’s a phenomenal process.”

With just over 10 months left until Avengers 4 hits theaters, fans are chomping at the bit for more information, including what the title may be, but that piece of information may be divulged quite soon. A recent rumor suggested that the full title for Avengers 4 will be revealed at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp, which hits theaters nationwide July 6 and marks the last of Marvel’s three movies for 2018. After that, Marvel will roll out its first female-lead superhero movie, Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, on March 8, 2019, followed by Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019 and the first Phase 4 movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, on July 5, 2019. You can take a look at a portion of Josh Brolin’s interview below, courtesy of Sirius XM YouTube.

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