4 Things Marvel Fans Should Know About The Actor Behind Thanos In 'Avengers'

by Ani Bundel

Avengers: Infinity War finally brings our band of heroes on Earth face to face with a Big Bad that's been swirling in the background for over five years: Thanos. We first met Thanos in the mid-credits sequence in 2012's The Avengers. He was established as a major heavy in Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Gamora and Nebula's adopted father they are trying to escape. Now he's coming to New York City to start blowing things sky high. Who plays Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War? That's a good question since it's hard to tell under the CGI who is in the motion capture suit.

The answer is actor Josh Brolin, a lifelong actor, and best known for such movies as No Country for Old Men and Milk, as well as playing the title role of George W. Bush in W.

Thanos has been long teased as the ultimate antagonist in the Marvel universe throughout all three phases, and it would take someone with that sort of pedigree to bring a man some people have compared to a cross between a California Raisin and Homer Simpson to life and actually make him scary. But unlike the superheroes he faces, fans don't know that much about Josh Brolin. Let's run down the facts.

Josh Brolin Was Originally A Child Actor
Warner Brothers

Josh Brolin grew up in Hollywood, the son of actor James Brolin (who is now married to Barbra Streisand) and actress Jane Cameron. They started him acting early in TV and films in small child guest roles. His big break came in 1985 when he was cast as Brand Walsh in The Goonies.

Brolin still cares deeply about the film and its fans. In fact, last year he even dressed up as Walsh for Halloween when he and wife model Kathryn Boyd went to an 80s themed party.

He Almost Quit Acting In His 20s
Movieclips on YouTube

Brolin got into acting because his father was an actor. He's said in interviews the skill didn't come naturally to him. Worse, after Goonies, he found himself pigeonholed in jock roles he didn't like either, especially after missing out on the lead in the original 21 Jump Street.

He spent his teens rebelling, getting into drugs and stealing, but by his 20s decided to pull himself together which meant leaving Hollywood. He spent a stint as a Wall Street trader (which he apparently was surprisingly good at) before Hollywood asked him to come back, and cast him as a bisexual ATF agent in David O Russell's Flirting With Disaster.

Robert Downey Jr. Says Brolin Is The "Sweetest Guy"
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Brolin's rebellious years left him a tattooed, goateed giant of a man. As he tells it, it can be pretty intimidating to people when they first meet him. But though he does look pretty scary even when he's not CGI'd into a purple giant, Robert Downey Jr. swears Brolin is a total sweetheart, as long as you don't cross him.

Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos, is the sweetest guy you will ever meet. He’s fun and funny and all that. But I also think that if he got it in his mind that he needs to evaporate half of every swirling sphere of life in order to live out what his own kind of karmic moral dilemma is, then it is not going to turn out well.
His Next Role Is Cable In Deadpool 2
Comicbook.com on YouTube

Brolin is finally doing prestige level work at this stage of his career. His two biggest roles currently are as part of the drama crime-thriller Sicario which competed for the Palm D'or at cannes in 2015, and Thanos in Marvel's ongoing series.

In between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, he'll be continuing that split between prestige and blockbuster. His next role is Cable in Deadpool 2. He'll follow that with Sicario: Day of the Soldado.