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When Quentin Tarantino helped Josh Brolin earn his role in 'No Country for Old Men'


If there’s one filmmaker who has had the greatest effect on contemporary cinema, it’s without a doubt Quentin Tarantino, introducing modern audiences to a whole world of movies outside of Hollywood. Suffusing his own films with influences from directors such as the master of western cinema Sergio Leone, as well as the pioneer of the samurai movie, Akira Kurosawa, the film’s of Tarantino have touched the hearts and minds of audiences across the world.

The sheer influence of Quentin Tarantino is such that he can help sway casting decisions, production roles and story arcs, with his time working on Planet Terror with Robert Rodriguez being integral to actor Josh Brolin appearing in the Coen Brothers’ Best Picture-winning film No Country for Old Men.

Appearing in the film alongside the likes of Bruce Willis, Rose McGowan, Danny Trejo, Tom Savini and even Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Brolin featured as Dr. William Block in the grungy, retro experiment from Tarantino and Rodriguez. Marketed as a ‘Grindhouse’ double-bill, their film paid homage to the sub-genre of sleazy, violent and melodramatic films that became popular in the mid-20th century. 

Both Tarantino’s Death Proof and Rodriguez’s Planet Terror were released under the same Grindhouse title with the two directors joining forces to create a movie experience unlike any other. Complete with mock trailers for similar Grindhouse films, such contributions included the efforts of Edgar Wright, Rob Zombie and Eli Roth, with each filmmaker doffing their cap to the history of cinema in their own unique style. 

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Disappointingly, though Grindhouse was appreciated for its audacity in critical circles, commercially it flopped, failing to make even half of its budget back, with many considering Death Proof to be Quentin Tarantino’s worst film to date. 

The project was not wasted, however, as it would prove to have a significant impact on one of the greatest films of the 21st century, No Country for Old Men, as one day on the set of Grindhouse, Tarantino and Rodriguez shot Josh Brolin’s audition tape for the upcoming film. Speaking in an interview with Collider, Brolin told the magazine that they used the Panavision Genesis camera to shoot the video before revealing that he was initially turned down by the Coen brothers for the role, questioning “who lit” the original video.

Seemingly questioning the production value of both Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez which they believe took away from the actor’s performance, the Coen brothers eventually agreed to meet up with Brolin who was eventually awarded the part. So whilst Tarantino and Rodriguez could’ve certainly lit the set a little better, they did have a leading hand in the casting of Brolin in the film. 

The actor has since gone on to be a star lead for the Coen brothers, appearing in Hail, Caesar! and True Grit with Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon and Domhnall Gleeson. 

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