Josh Brolin honors Templeton in 'No Country for Old Men'

Josh Brolin presents an award during the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
Josh Brolin presents an award during the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010. ASSOCIATED PRESS

This story was originally published in The Tribune on Nov. 30, 2007.

Actor Josh Brolin pays homage to his Templeton roots on the big screen in his new movie "No Country for Old Men."

In one scene, his badly injured character staggers across a bridge between the United States and Mexico. He stops three young men walking back from Mexico, saying to one, "I'll give you $500 for that coat."

The young man accepts the offer, and Brolin's character, Llewelynn Moss, walks away wearing a green windbreaker that clearly shows the Templeton Eagles mascot on his back.

The eagle is the Templeton Unified School District mascot.

The jacket scene takes just seconds in the movie, but it is no accident.

Brolin said this week in a telephone interview from New York, where he was staying to give costar Javier Bardem an award, that he lobbied directors Joel and Ethan Coen to include it in the film.

The Coen brothers are the highly acclaimed writer-directors responsible for such films as "Fargo, " "Blood Simple, " "O Brother, Where Art Thou, " "Raising Arizona" and "Barton Fink."

"No Country for Old Men" is rated R and, like many of the Coens' films, contains graphic violence. The movie is also, like much of their past work, garnering critical acclaim.

"It was kind of an insult for me to tell these great directors what to do, " Brolin said of his request to wear the coat.

"... I told them, 'Don't cut away from me until it's been long enough that you can read the jacket, ' " Brolin said. "They said, 'OK. We get the thing about the jacket.' "

For his work in the film, Brolin is reaping his own share of praise. The New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott hailed Brolin's performance.

"Mr. Brolin is the human center of the movie, the guy you root for and identify with even as the odds against him grow steeper by the minute, " Scott wrote.

The jacket scene, meanwhile, has prompted gasps and even applause at some local showings.

"I think it's great publicity, " said Templeton High School Principal Jim Fotinakes.

'It was so Templeton'

Brolin said he was proud to honor his former hometown in the movie.

He was born in Southern California, but moved to Templeton in his infancy and later attended Templeton Elementary and Templeton Middle schools.

Brolin moved away for high school, but came back as an adult and owned a ranch in the Templeton-Adelaida area. He continued to live in the community — working as a parent volunteer at his children's schools and helping with community fundraising — until recently.

"I had to sell my ranch a couple of years ago because of financial reasons," he said. "The minute I sold it, I started working like crazy."

Brolin's father is James Brolin, one of the stars of the 1970s television show "Marcus Welby, M.D." His mother, Jane Agee, is deceased.

James Brolin is perhaps most famous these days as the husband of singer/actress Barbra Streisand, making Josh Brolin the icon's stepson.

Josh Brolin is married to actress Diane Lane (from "The Perfect Storm" and "Lonesome Dove").

It's not the first time the younger Brolin has incorporated his Templeton roots into his work. He performed in the Sam Shepard play "True West" in New York, and some hats were needed. He called Templeton Feed and Grain and asked whether he could have feed store caps for the play.

"They said, 'Josh, of course you can,' " Brolin said. "They were something like $6.95. I had to buy them. I loved that. It was so Templeton."

Brolin said he has missed the North County since moving away.

"I honestly cried when I saw my Eagles jacket in the movie, " he said.

But after recently appearing in several major movies, Brolin and Lane plan to move back to the North County, to either Paso Robles or Templeton.

Besides "No Country for Old Men, " Brolin has played starring roles this year in "American Gangster" and "In the Valley of Elah." He also had a small role in "Planet Terror, " one of the two short films that composes the "Grind-house" double feature from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

When asked whether he is the actor of the hour, Brolin said, "I hope it's not just an hour. I'm very respectful of the moment. I hope it lasts. If it brings more money to buy a ranch again, it's good.

"I tell you, man, having traveled everywhere, every time I go back to Paso, I think there is no reason to buy anywhere else."