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Josh Brolin has made himself a pretty good career playing tough guys. He's best known these days for playing comic book tough guys like Cable and Thanos, but even when he's playing normal humans, his characters are still tough as nails. The actual Josh Brolin is maybe a bit less so, as his former co-star Isabel Moner says a scene with her once made him cry.
The Dora and the Lost city of Gold actress appeared with Josh Brolin in Sicario: Day of the Soldado. In the movie Moner plays the daughter of a drug kingpin who is kidnapped as part of a plan to start a war between cartels, a plot hatched in part by Brolin's character. In the end, Brolin's character rescues Moner, and the two share a helicopter ride back to safety.
Isabel Moner never says a word, and simply looks worn down to nothing by the events of the movie. Brolin's character is forced to look into the eyes of what he is done. The moment is supposed to have an emotional impact on the character, and apparently, as the actress tells THR, it did on Brolin too. According to Moner...
That movie wasn’t full of too much acting direction. I think it was more the scenarios that were explained because of not being shot in chronological order and there being so many little twists in the movie. I do remember Josh crying afterwards. He was very moved, and I felt like we shared this really cool connection in the helicopter. We didn’t say a lot in between, after or during, but it was a really, really interesting experience. It was very different from Dora. (Laughs.) That’s the fun of it all… acting. Specifically with my career, I’m confusing many people, and I like it that way.
As an actor, the job is to become emotionally invested in the character, and so it's maybe no surprise that it all brought Josh Brolin to tears. Isabel Moner looks like she's been through hell in that scene, and simply imagining a small child going through something like that would probably cause a lot of people to break down.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a pretty brutal film. Pretty much all the characters you meet in it are terrible. Moner's Isabel Reyes is about the only sympathetic person in the entire runtime. She's just a kid who didn't ask for any of this. After being kidnapped, Benecio Del Toro's Alejandro Gillick takes pity on her and attempts to help her, though he's nearly killed for his trouble.
What makes it all the more impressive is that Isabel Moner is all of about 17-years-old in the movie, quite young for somebody to be going through such an emotional experience. While she was only acting, of course, Moner says that making the movie was in many ways like going through such harrowing events in reality, so she was able to use that in her performance.
I was super, super young to be doing a movie like that, and being exposed to all the hard work that I had to do… all the physical demands… and really not being around many people my age, I felt like I was kind of already in that environment. In the scenes where you hear gunshots, the bullets were made to mimic the real sounds of the guns. It is acting, but to a certain extent, you believe it at the end of the day. I just took all of that and really felt it. Looking back at it, it’s really interesting how it affected me emotionally and mentally after being a part of that film.
It seems that Josh Brolin wasn't the only one to be affected strongly by Sicario: Day of the Soldado.