Why Josh Brolin Turned Down the ‘Avatar’ Sequels

Josh Brolin is one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood right now. Still, few would turn down the chance to star in a major franchise like Avatar.

But Brolin is different. Read on to learn why he passed on James Cameron’s offer, how his career is flourishing, and what little we know about the Avatar sequels so far.

On the conversation

Josh Brolin smiles while attending the 68th Annual Cannes Film Festival.

Josh Brolin at the Cannes Film Festival | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

From a short comment in an Esquire interview came several headlines surrounding the actor and Cameron. Brolin, who did not have a role in the first film, was apparently approached by the director about appearing in the upcoming sequels to his 2009 hit, Avatar.

He told Esquire that there was some animosity involved. “If I don’t want to do Avatar,” he says, “I’m not going to do Avatar. James Cameron’s f***ing calling me this name and that name. Whatever. If James Cameron came to me and said, ‘Hey, man, why’d you say that?’ I’d go, ‘Because it happened.'”

He’s got a lot of franchises in the mix

Josh Brolin attends the premiere of 'Inherent Vice' in Hollywood.

Josh Brolin has been churning out one film after the other. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

It’s not exactly like Brolin is hurting for work. The celebrated actor has been very busy — he’s currently playing a villain in not one, but two major movie franchises.

Brolin has been making headlines recently for his upcoming performance as Cable in Deadpool 2. He’ll also be reprising his role as Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, as well as its follow-up.

He’s working steadily

Josh Brolin speaks into a microphone while attending the 4th Annual California Fire Foundation Gala at Avalon Hollywood.

The actor has been quite busy this year. | Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for California Fire Foundation

That’s not even everything that’s on Brolin’s plate. He spoke with Esquire about the other projects he has in the works.

In addition to superhero flicks, Brolin has another film scheduled to come out this year, the comedy The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter.

He’s also reprising his role as Matt Graver in Soldado, the sequel to Sicario, and it looks as though he’ll be starring opposite Jessica Chastain in biopic George and Tammy.

He knows the business

James Brolin smiles and wears glasses at the premiere of 'Sisters' in New York City.

Josh Brolin’s father, James Brolin | Brad Barket/Getty Images

As the son of actor James Brolin, Josh has been in and around the biz for his entire life. His career began with The Goonies, and though it waned for some time during his rough younger years, he has crawled his way to the top through epic performances.

He keeps up with the ‘gram, too. Brolin told Esquire, “I love it. I have no shame. I’m not trying to pimp my career with it. I just don’t give a shit. It’s stuff that matters to me.”

He’s as real as it gets

Josh Brolin smiles during a photocall for the film 'Sicario' at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes.

Brolin isn’t the type to hold back. | Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

It was Brolin’s response to Cameron’s request that solidified what those who have worked with him already knew: This guy is a straight-shooter.

“My first impression of Josh,” Only the Brave director Joseph Kosinski told Esquire, “was how honest he was. He’s genuinely a good dude.”

His Sicario costar and good friend, Benicio Del Toro, added, “There’s no pretense with Josh. Josh has a wisdom. Maybe it comes from dealing with failure and dealing with success and treating them both the same way. He’s a survivor.”

What we know about the sequels

Josh Brolin walks on stage at a panel at Comic-Con with the cast of 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill'.

Josh Brolin attending the San Diego Comic-Con | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

It’s not as though Brolin had a lot to go on in regards to the Avatar sequels. Cameron has kept almost all details starkly under wraps. But we do know one spoiler, and it doesn’t paint a good picture for the future of the franchise as far as many are concerned.

Colonel Quaritch, who was killed at the end of the original, will somehow be returning — for all four sequels. While critics are skeptical, Cameron holds strong in his decision.  “He is so good and he just gets better,” Cameron told Empire about the character.

“I know Stephen Lang is gonna knock this out of the park,” the director added about the accomplished actor who portrays him.

3D format

Josh Brolin speaks into a microphone and points upwards at the press conference for 'Labor Day' during the 57th BFI London Film Festival.

What will the next Avatar film look like? | Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

There have also been plenty of rumors about the quality of the upcoming films. Cameron famously loves to experiment with the latest technology and leaned in heavily to the format in the early 3D days.

But at present, there are no plans to revolutionize the industry with the Avatar sequels. However, Cameron isn’t giving up on the tech just yet. “I think high dynamic range cinemas, like the new Dolby cinemas, can show us what that next level looks like in that cinematic experience,” he told Wired.

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