Josh Brolin Had A Ridiculous Failed Audition For The Fly 2

Josh Brolin may now be a widely beloved performer known for his work on major projects with the Coen Brothers, Denis Villeneuve, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Big Bad, Thanos, but Brolin's early auditions weren't always the slam-dunk they are now (despite his extreme dedication to the craft). One of Brolin's earliest auditions was for the sequel to a body horror classic, and it didn't go quite how he hoped.

In a new interview with "Hot Ones," Brolin waxes poetic about auditioning for 1989's "The Fly II," the sequel to David Cronenberg's 1986 "The Fly" remake. You'd think that the right way to nail the audition for that surreal sci-fi sequel would be to go to maximum intensity (Brolin did, too), but it turns out we're all wrong. Brolin gave it his all, failing to get the role and leaving everyone in the room with, shall we say, serious questions.

To be a fly on the wall of that audition

"The Fly II" follows Martin Brundle (Eric Stoltz), the son of Veronica Quaife and transformed scientist Seth Brundle. Undoubtedly the film, like the Cronenberg entry before it and the Vincent Price original trilogy, features surreal body horror elements, so one would think that's the kind of element a producer is looking for, right? 

To a relatively early-career Josh Brolin, for whom preparation is key in every role and every audition, that's exactly what he expected. He explains his unique approach to his "The Fly II" audition:

I went in there and I totally committed and I did this for 22 years for pretty much every audition I ever did. [Laughs] But I was on the ground and I was frothing at the mouth, because he's in a chrysalis, he's in a cocoon, what happens to one that's human that's not used to something like morphing from one thing to another. One would imagine it would be a painful process, would one not?

It's a commonsense approach, but when it came time for the post-audition dialogue with the producers (to him, the "most uncomfortable part" of the process), he realized the heightened realism of his approach wasn't quite the performance they wanted.

They did not admire his commitment to ... The Fly II

Brolin followed the intense audition by mundanely asking the producers the fairly boilerplate question, in his words, "Is there anything else you want me to do, or if that was inappropriate, there's another way we can deal with it." Their reaction was fairly standard. In Brolin's account, a simple, "No, that was fine, that was great." 

It wasn't. As he puts it:

Then I left and got back to my place and there was already a message from my agent and I called the agent back and he said, 'What the f—k did you do in there?' I said, 'Did I get it?' And he's like, 'Oh no, they'll probably never see you again.' And I still don't understand to this day, I'm like, 'Don't you want someone who will commit?'"

It makes intellectual sense that the producers of the newest entry in a series about the transformation of human beings into inhuman fly-people would want someone who commits to the full, incomprehensible horror of it all (Brolin thinks so, too), but alas ... it wasn't meant to be, and he very much didn't get the role. 

Then again, maybe time has proven Brolin right. The 1986 outing made a profitable $60 million and netted Cronenberg his only Oscar (Best Makeup), with critical acclaim for Jeff Goldblum's commitment to the tragic horror of it all as the transforming Seth Brundle. The sequel's take stopped just shy of $39 million, earning considerably less critical acclaim than the original. Perhaps they needed someone willing to painfully writhe on the floor after all.