We still don’t know much about Thanos despite several appearances in Marvel movies.
That will change with Avengers: Infinity War. Actor Josh Brolin told Entertainment Weekly audiences will finally see how Thanos came to be; what shaped him as a child and led him to become the abusive, evil, towering figure he is today. Brolin compared Thanos to Quasimodo, the misunderstood character at the heart of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
“He’s different from his family,” Brolin told Entertainment Weekly. “They’re all Titans and they all look similar, but he was born deformed. You see how he grew up, you see he was like the Quasimodo of this time, or if you’ve ever read Perfume [Patrick Süskind ‘s 1985 novel about a serial killer who craves beautiful scenes but is disgusted by the smell of humanity], it’s a great parallel to Thanos. He stuck out. He was an anomaly. He was a freak. And that lent to this apparent insanity.”
Brolin is playing the Mad Titan a little less ... well, mad. Thanos is more interesting as a manipulative, conniving figure than just an outright megalomaniacal villain lusting for total power. Brolin compared his character to Dan White, the nebulous politician who killed Harvey Milk in 1978, and whom Brolin played in 2008’s Milk.
Part of learning to understand Thanos, Brolin added, is getting to know him as a father. We know him as the abusive monster who made Nebula’s life absolute hell (as we learned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), but Brolin said Thanos does care for his children.
“When you see the relationship with Gamora and you see that evolves, God I wish I could tell you. I can’t! When [directors Joe and Anthony Russo] came up to me after we had done maybe three-quarters of the film, they said, ‘It wasn’t necessarily intended that you feel for this guy as much as you do.’ Obviously he has a grand plan, like somebody who’s pulling in kids for their own selfish bloodshed. But he has a capacity to love very much and very deeply.”
That didn’t stop Brolin from admitting that Thanos does see his children, like Gamora and Nebula, as tools. The most interesting aspect of the character, according to the actor, is his depth, which hasn’t been explored yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those who have been clamoring to know more about the frightening villain that has been looming over our heads for close to a decade will be happy to know Avengers: Infinity War will spend quite a bit of time exploring his character.
Avengers: Infinity War will be released on April 27, 2018.