James Brolin says it took him “almost 50, 60 years” to feel comfortable on camera.
The 81-year-old acting and filmmaking legend – who got into the movie business after falling into commercials – might have a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame and two Golden Globes and an Emmy to his name, but that doesn’t mean he’s always been confident being filmed.
Speaking to Collider, he said: “One of the ways I accidentally backed into the business, even though I was fascinated with the business and I’d been a cinematographer and director, filmmaker since I was 15 years old, I was 18 and I was walking down the street and somebody stopped me and said, ‘Excuse me, can I talk to you?’ And said, ‘Would you be interested in being in a commercial?’ And I said, ‘What would I have to do?’ And they said, ‘Well, all you gotta do is dress up like a young cowboy and drive this truck.’ And I said, ‘I wouldn’t have to talk, would I?’ And they said, ‘Nope! No talking.’ ‘What’s it pay? ‘$400.’
‘Oh, I’ll take that job!’ So that was with BBDO, the largest company in the United States that did that stuff. I did two Dodge, I did a Gallo Wine commercial and suddenly I had a Screen Actors Guild card, and this meant I had to be on the other side of the camera, the lens side, which just scared the wadden out of me. So I went on and I went to school. I tried to get rid of this feeling, and I’ve almost got it 50, 60 years later.”
Brolin’s latest gig is voicing Zurg in Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’, his first-ever voicing acting role in an animation.
The offer came off the back of his narration of the Netflix series ‘Sweet Tooth’.
The Hollywood legend – who is married to Barbra Streisand and is the father of actor Josh Brolin – said: “I got assigned by a friend to narrate a series, eight episodes. And that was Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan. The series became a worldwide number one on streaming for a month and because of that, Pixar became aware of me and suddenly like, ‘Okay, yeah. That’s what he does for a living,’ and I’m pick of the week! The voice of the week! After all those years.”