"Gangster Squad" director Ruben Fleischer praised star Josh Brolin's classic qualities when I interviewed him for Moviefone: "I can't imagine a better person to play his role. He feels like he stepped out of a 1940s movie. He really was born to play it. And he's just so strong and so confident and so masculine and so tough. He just excels. He's like a Sterling Hayden or a Robert Mitchum. If you were to do a black and white film montage of his scenes, you'd be hard-pressed to know that it wasn't from the era."
Brolin welcomed the comparison to the star of such classic film noirs as "Out of the Past" and "Crossfire," saying he suggested cutting some of his character's lines to make him more laconic and more "Mitchum-esque."
He also shared an anecdote that his friend, James Spader told him about when he worked with Mitchum in the 1983 TV movie "A Killer in the Family."
"One day, Mitchum asked him, 'Do you want to have lunch with me?' And Spader was like, ' Yeah, of course.' So Mitchum said, 'Meet me in my trailer.' So he goes and knocks on the door of the trailer and there's no answer. He knocks on the door again, finally he opens the door, there's nobody in there. Finally Spader decides to just go in and sit down and wait for him. He sees Mitchum's script, so he looks inside and on the first page he sees 'N.A.R.' written on it. He looks at the door and he looks at the script and the next page, 'N.A.R.' again. He sees it throughout the whole script. Some pages, there's 'N.A.R.,' some pages there aren't. Finally Mitchum comes in, they have lunch together and halfway through the lunch, Spader says to Mitchum, 'Look, I couldn't help, but I looked at your script. I'm sorry for doing that, but I kept seeing 'N.A.R.'. What does that mean?' And Mitchum said, 'That's No Acting Required.'"
Mitchum, who died in 1997, famously didn't take acting very seriously. As he once said, "The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail." And when asked what he looked for in considering a script, he deadpanned, "Days off."
If you want to know more about Mitchum, visit my site: Welcome to the Big Sleep.