Only the Brave Is A 'Celebration' Of The Granite Mountain Hotshots

While his role as Cable in Deadpool 2 is one of the most anticipated cinematic appearances of 2018, Josh Brolin is having one heck of a great streak when it comes to churning out a magnificent performance. If you’re looking for a film whose storytelling is reminiscent of old Hollywood, then look no further than Only the Brave, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters risk everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire. Brolin portrays real life Granite Mountain Hotshot Superintendent, Eric Marsh, who served 23 years in the fire service.

Screen Rant had the pleasure of sitting down with Josh during press day for the movie where we discussed his experience with firefighting, the community, and what he would be doing if he were to give up acting.

In the film Marsh let his love of fire, and his boys kind of get in the way of starting a family with Amanda. I’m not sure if you have that passion for acting as Marsh did for his job, but if you had to give this up what would you be doing?

Josh Brolin: I mean I do have a passion for acting, but not when I’m doing it. Do you know what I mean? But I’ve been doing it a lot longer than Marsh was a firefighter. I’ve been doing it for decades so, what would I be doing? There’s a lot things I’d be doing. There were a lot of things that I was planning on doing other than acting. There was one point where I wanted to be a chef, there was one point where I wanted to be a lawyer, and there’s one know I have a lot of different interests which is the only reason why I do this. I think acting is kind of a pain in the ass, but when you’re able to do a role like this then it becomes very personally satisfying especially when people see it who are first responders or firemen who we’re portraying and they feel that we did them justice. That’s major kudos for us. I’ve been involved with the firefighting community for a very long time, much longer than I’ve been involved with this movie. I know a lot of those firefighters have said, you’ve gotten into the wrong profession. Would I like to think that, sure. Do I think it’s a reality? I don’t know. I like doing a lot of different things which is why I do what I do.

There you go, being an actor you can be a firefighter, a lawyer---

Josh Brolin: Six months here, six months there. You may have nine months there and I enjoy that very much.

I did read an article that the hotshots never worried about not coming home. In your experience as a firefighter where do you think that bravado comes from?

Josh Brolin: I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that. I mean maybe it’s a quote I didn’t hear or don’t agree with or maybe I just misheard it, but I think that they’re all very aware of the fact that something can happen, but if you dwell on it that’s the thing I understand. You’re not going to dwell on it, because if you’re constantly putting yourself in this kind of fearful frenetic buzz then you’re thinking about that. You’re not thinking about the task at hand, and you can’t think of anything else, but what’s going on in front of you when you’re a fireman. It’s like you can’t think of anything else in war. That’s just the deal. If you are, you’re kind half present, and you’re not going to be able to do what you’re there to do. So, I think these guys are very realistic, but I think to dwell on it is unproductive.

It’s like when you keep thinking ‘I’m going to mess this up’, ‘I’m going to mess this up’, and then you’re actually going to mess it up.

Josh Brolin: Yeah, of course. I think it’s just you attract the thing that you want to avoid.

Uh-huh. Putting it out in the universe.

Joshn Brolin: Exactly.

You attended the premiere last night, and it looked beautiful. It looked more like a memorial tribute than anything. How did it feel being in that atmosphere?

Josh Brolin: It was both! It was a celebration. It was a celebration of all these guys, and it’s also a celebration of the guys who live, and who are presently doing it, and who have done it. It was also for the people who have also lost their lives doing it. There was something very honest about it which I loved. It didn’t feel very put on, you know what I mean? It felt honest, and we’re going to Phoenix and we’re going to do it again. We’re going to Denver and we’re going to do it again. We’re going to Nashville, so I think for people to feel appreciated is always a nice thing even people who are demure. I think once it happens I think they’re like ‘thank you for thinking of us’. I love being a part of that. It’s not just to get people to see the movie. We were interested in the subject. I think it shows in the movie.

No, it does.

Josh Brolin: We can totally sensationalize it you know and have a big monster come in, but we don’t. It feels fairly honest to me.

That’s what I was saying, this movie actually builds up to the event itself, the tragedy itself, instead of doing the aftermath and making a big drama out of it. Do you think one way is better than the other way in portraying an event like this?

Josh Brolin: I think our intention was to portray it in the way you just said. Honestly, without dwelling on something. I would liken it to Las Vegas, those people’s lives aren’t defined based on that tragedy. Their lives are their lives, and then that’s a tragedy that happened. A horrible, horrible tragedy that took their lives. It’s the same thing with these guys, celebrating who they were as a community, and then this awful thing happened at the end of that or in this one circumstance and situation. So it’s obvious there to mourn, but there’s a lot of stuff to celebrate.

MORE: Read Screen Rant's Only the Brave Review

Key Release Dates
  • Only the Brave (2017) release date: Oct 20, 2017
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