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‘Dune’ star Brolin says ‘Goonies’ defined him for decades

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — As one of the co-stars of sci-fi blockbuster “Dune”, Josh Brolin’s career is flourishing – but the US actor said that for 20 years the only work he was known for was “The Goonies.”

Ahead of the release of “Dune: Part Two” at the end of this month, Brolin, 56, recalled how his two-decade acting career was marked early on by his role as the young hero’s elder brother in the cult 1985 kids’ adventure film.

He has starred since then in other hit movies such as “No Country For Old Men” (2007), “Milk” (2008) – for which he earned an Oscar nomination – and “Avengers” (2015).

Before those breakthroughs, “for 20 years I only had the Goonies. I did a lot of work but nothing worth talking about except maybe ‘Flirting With Disaster’ – one of David O. Russell’s first movies,” he told reporters.

Son of Hollywood actor James Brolin, he became a keen science fiction fan as a child. “I grew up in the country around horses...so I didn’t know anything outside of that existed,” he said.

But soon he discovered the work of sci-fi authors Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert’s “Dune” novels – long before Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s current series of films.

- Bonding with ‘Elvis’ -

Following the success of Villeneuve’s 2021 “Dune”, the first in the current series, Brolin was reunited with his A-list co-stars for the sequel. He plays Gurney Halleck, the grumpy mentor and friend of disinherited prince Paul Atreides, played by “Wonka” actor Timothee Chalamet.

This time around, Brolin worked with the film’s composer Hans Zimmer to write a song for his character, played in the movie on the fictional nine-string baliset. Brolin wrote the lyrics.

Desert scenes were filmed 60 miles outside of the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi, where Brolin said there was nothing but the crew and sand.

The Californian spoke about the friendships he made while on set, with “Dune” newcomers Austin Butler – Elvis in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic – and “Little Women” Oscar nominee Florence Pugh. “I got super close with Austin, I’ve stayed close with Florence,” he said.

Butler, whose most recent role was starring in Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ World War II drama series “Masters of the Air”, plays sociopath Feyd-Rautha in the futuristic Dune universe.

“I thought that he did a phenomenal job with that role,” Brolin said. “I look at that and what he did and saw his work ethic on set and I was very impressed, very proud."

Brolin said Butler complained about people's fixation with his performance in “Elvis” – fans said he still “talked like Elvis” even after filming ended – while he wanted to move on and focus on new films.

“You had Elvis for seven months,” Brolin recalled telling Butler. “I had Goonies for 20 years. Shut up.”

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