As a follow up to my post from this morning about Josh Brolin having Tarantino and Rodriguez film his No Country for Old Men audition, Ufford from WithLeather sent me this article, where the Coen brothers explain that Brolin was cast by mistake.
"Boo-boos," David Merrick called them — those big-time show-business casting mistakes that are never widely publicized. Not errors of taste or tone, but flat-out boners. Robert Urich, for instance, was asked to play Spenser, the TV detective, because the show’s producers had him confused with Robert Conrad… We had waltzed through eleven films before our own first misfire… to round out the cast we hired — we thought — rugged everyman Jim Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, the aging Vietnam vet caught in the middle. Well, there were some red faces on the set the first day of shooting when Jim Brolin’s son Josh showed up to play the part.
It’s a mistake that’s certainly easier to forget than the coathanger scars on my forehead. And mistake or not, Josh instead of James means at least 50% less Streisand. Josh’s dad apparently has something wrong with his eyesight. And his hearing. And sense of smell. And his sense of… decency.
So how did they recover?
How could Josh Brolin plausibly be a Vietnam vet? Simple: set the story in 1980 instead of the present day. A quick huddle with production designer Jess Gonchor and, bingo, we’re a period picture. An offer goes out to Shia LaBeouf to replace Tommy Lee Jones as Brolin’s (now young) counterpart. Shia passes, okay, we stick with Tommy Lee, and we make the best of a big age difference. You make it work.
And this way, Ethan’s Wonder Woman lunchbox seemed way less creepy. Okay, not really.