Dune's Josh Brolin: 10 Most Likable Characters | ScreenRant

While he may most often be known for playing villains with his square jaw and commanding screen presence, Josh Brolin can just as easily lend these qualities to heroes. His rugged charm comes out in roles that require strong moral codes and common sense altruism, and there's no one better at capturing angels with tarnished halos -- men who are a little rough around the edges but not out of the fight yet.

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In Dune (2021), he'll play legendary warrior Gurney Halleck, charged with keeping prophetic hero Paul Atreides safe on Arrakis. It's not hard to see why this is a perfect fit for Brolin -- after portraying characters like heroic firefighter Eric Marsh in Only The Brave and ex-con Frank with the heart of gold in Labor Day, he's the best at making even the most larger-than-life heroes seem human.

10 Buck Ferguson

In The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, Brolin plays Buck Ferguson, a deer hunter and the host of a nature vlog who's worried he might be replaced in his son's life and becomes determined to reconnect with him while on a hunt. They're accompanied by his cameraman, who documents every heartfelt and hilarious moment.

Brolin gained 40 pounds and grew a bushy mustache to play Buck, and he behaves so naturally out in the wild one would assume he's always been a burly deer hunter. Brolin doesn't often get the chance to do broad comedy, but he has a gift for timing, and he plays well off of veteran comedian Danny McBride who's known for his outrageous characters.

9 Eric Marsh

Brolin has played plenty of real historical figures, including George W. Bush, but in Only The Brave, he plays someone less well-known but deserving of even more respect -- Eric Marsh, captain of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters who in 2013 risked their lives to protect their town from a historic wildfire.

It's not difficult to see why Marsh's men would follow him into the inferno with Brolin in the lead, and he's surrounded by a strong cast including Jennifer Connelly and Jeff Bridges. Brolin channels a real bond with his fellow firefighters, so much so that viewers will believe that they have a bond forged by fire and courage.

8 Gurney Halleck

One of the main reasons fans are so excited for Dune is because of its fantastic cast, which sees Josh Brolin team up with Oscar Isaac, Timothee Chalamet, and dozens of other A-list stars to bring Frank Herbert's sci-fi opus to life. Brolin plays Gurney Halleck, the Warmaster of Duke Leto Atreides (Isaac), tasked with training Paul Atreides (Chalamet) in combat to better survive on the inhospitable planet Arrakis.

Herbert's book describes Halleck as an "ugly lump of a man" with wispy blonde hair, so while Brolin doesn't physically resemble the character, he evokes the proper aura of authority with his physicality and his bearing, while also conveying the softness of the Warmaster with his love of poetry and fondness for Paul. And like Halleck, Brolin actually knows how to play the baliset.

7 Jonah Hex

While not regarded as a great superhero movie, fault can't be found with Brolin's depiction of Jonah Hex, the scarred gunslinger with supernatural tracking abilities. Having appeared in No Country for Old Men and True GritBrolin is no stranger to looking like a natural in Westerns, no matter their premise.

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Brolin is the type of antihero that can chew the scenery right along with John Malkovich's Quentin Turnbull, an old nemesis whom Hex is tasked with bringing to justice. He makes Hex feel like a real person rather than a gimmick, and his rugged features make him look like he belongs in the time period.

6 Joe Doucett

Based on the popular South Korean action movie of the same name, Old Boy offers a perfect part for Brolin as Joe Doucett, a man who is suddenly imprisoned one day for fifteen years, with nothing but a television for company. When he's finally and inexplicably released, he unleashes scene after scene of brutal vengeance on those who kept him captive.

Brolin has a lot of responsibility in the movie and his performance is at the heart of its success. The range of emotions he conveys --including extreme vulnerability and uncontrollable rage-- as a man forced to survive by hanging onto a thread of hope while his psyche shatters, is truly impressive.

5 Frank

Like Jason Reitman's other movie Up in the Air, Labor Day is an honest story about people, trying to make the best of less-than-ideal circumstances. Brolin stars as Frank, an escaped convict who finds sanctuary with a single mother and her son. Treated humanely, he slowly reveals his story, and perspectives begin to change as the mother and son keep him hidden from authorities.

Brolin has the sort of grizzled visage to believably play a fearsome man like Frank, but it's his capacity for inner warmth and tenderness that's required for making him someone that could win anyone over. This winning mixture of surly and sweet of Brolin's makes Frank someone a woman and her son could grow to care a great deal about.

4 James Butler Hickok

Hot off the popularity of movies like Young GunsBrolin starred in a series called The Young Riders, about the early days of Sweetwater's Pony Express post office. With the help of six young men, all orphans with no kin, the Pony Express became a success story, but not without peril as they carried the mail across the vast reaches of the American Frontier.

Brolin plays James Butler Hickok, otherwise known as Wild Bill Hickok, the famous gunsel whose escapades have become an indelible part of the mythos of the Old West. Brolin is tasked with showcasing the man before the legend, and he comes across as loyal, affable, and sensitive.

3 Bill Sterling

Part of the same universe as The West Wing, Mister Sterling sees Josh Brolin as a teacher at a correctional facility who's suddenly selected by California's governor to replace a recently deceased U.S. Senator. When he arrives in Washington, he explains that he doesn't support either political party and is in fact an independent, throwing everything into chaos.

Brolin is every bit as honest and vibrant as Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington upon which the series is based, bringing a refreshing amount of transparency and dignity to the office. Unfortunately, the series didn't last very long, but it did introduce a lot of compelling ideas about the problem with a two party system.

2 Sgt. John O'Mara

Based on the real formation of the infamous Gangster Squad that rid Los Angeles of its mob crime, Gangster Squad has Josh Brolin team up with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone to square off against kingpin Sean Penn, playing real-life mobster Mickey Cohen who basically owned LA in the '40s.

As Sergeant John O'Mara, Brolin is the mastermind behind the squad, but he's not all badge and bluster. He's prone to reflection, pontification, and warns against shooting first and asking questions later. He has great chemistry with Gosling, and wears the hell out of a double-breasted suit and fedora.

1 Thanos

One of the greatest villains of the MCU also happens to be one of its most well-liked characters, thanks to Josh Brolin's sympathetic portrait of the Mad Titan across the Avengers series.  Even as Thanos scours space and time for the Infinity Stones, striking down all who oppose him, his motivation for wiping out half of Earth's population is surprisingly resonant.

Thanos was a man who'd seen what the depletion of resources does to a world, and took it upon himself to depopulate planets by half so that no one would have to suffer as his people did. This logic struck a chord for viewers, and it was refreshing to see a villain try to gain power not for power's sake, but for something greater than themselves.

NEXT: Oscar Isaac's 10 Most Likable Characters



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