“There was no moment in Sicario where I wanted to do this again,” Josh Brolin says of the 2015 original slow burner that also starred Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt.
Three years later, the star is back reprising his role from the first film, taking on a new challenge and a new drug war.
“When I do a Coen Brothers movie, everything is pretty much figured out beforehand. There’s a lot of prep that goes into every movie, there’s storyboards and all the writing, plot points and expositions have been figured out, you rehearse, you figure out whatever… Sicario was different. It is ripping stuff apart and looking at it as if playing Lego. It was like a sandpit, dealing with abstract art all the time. That can be frustrating; it can also be really invigorating. So, I think when I finished Sicario, I was pretty much like, ‘Ehhhh it’ll be okay, it’ll be alright, good, but not great by any means’.”
Having worked with the best directors in the world – from the Coens to Paul Thomas Anderson and Gus Van Sant, the 50-year-old actor was unprepared for Sicario director Denis Villeneuve’s approach.
“I didn’t think Sicario was going to be very good; when I saw it, I was completely blown away. That never happens, by the way, ever.
“Denis was just like ‘I don’t know whether it’s working or not working’. It’d just look like fucking one big depressive situation, and then I’ve learned that he’s much smarter than I thought, and that he knew exactly what he needed to put stuff together. And he allowed us to find it, so he would never express too much confidence because it would make other people lazy.”
Sicario turned out to be both a critical and commercial success, continuing to gain fans on the small screen.
“We had a lot of critics that were really high on the movie. It was a success, but it wasn’t a runaway hit. It wasn’t like No Country where it made 400 percent of its money, but it was enough of a critical hit where I’ve had more people come up to me about it. There’s The Goonies, No Country, and Sicario is right after that. People are just going, ‘it’s my favourite of the last five years’. I’m like, ‘why, I want to know?’”
This sort of affirmation influenced Josh Brolin’s decision to return for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, even though Denis Villeneuve has moved on.
“I think a sequel you’re really connecting to where the other one left off, whereas this is its own episode. This, to me, feels like a limited series that you can keep going and going and going with these guys and especially because you don’t have Emily’s character right now, it feels even more like that ‘Ok, this is its own isolated thing’. Why I think it works so well that way, is because the whole paradigm has shifted. You look at Black Mirror, it’s its own thing, but you have these throughline of characters which I think is very interesting. My character is very different in this; he’s the same guy, it’s just that things have happened, he’s been through a lot of stuff. He’s the same guy, he’s doing the same job, it’s just a different thing. Where the monetary pole in Sicario is drugs, the monetary pole here is people and I think it’s a really interesting shift when you start to see the profit in human trade.”
Sicario: Day of The Soldado is in cinemas now.