Hail, Caesar! star Josh Brolin revealed on Conan this week that he and Jessica Chastain will portray George Jones and Tammy Wynette in an upcoming biopic of the once-married country music legends. The film, tentatively titled No Show Jones, will likely focus on Jones’ career-damaging battles with alcohol and cocaine, and the havoc they wreaked on his six-year marriage with Wynette.
“I have a bit of a past,” Brolin, who was arrested for public intoxication in 2013, joked to Conan O’Brien during an interview Wednesday. “And when they were trying to figure out who might be best able to best play George Jones, they thought, ‘What about Brolin? Who’s been to jail in the last ten years? Let’s pick Brolin!’”
Despite all the troubles and missed performances that earned Jones the nickname that inspired the movie title, his celebrity and talent were so large that he managed to record 13 No. 1 country hits, including three with Wynette (“Golden Ring,” “Near You” and “We’re Gonna Hold On”) while still struggling with his addictions. Brolin recounted to O’Brien a (only partially apocryphal) funny-not-funny story of how psychologically wrecked Jones was in the midst of his highest celebrity.
“He talked like a duck for three years,” Brolin said. “He refused to speak in anything but duck voice for three years. The only time he came out of duck voice was to do another No. 1 hit for that year, so whenever he would sing it would be a No. 1 hit and then he’d go and have a drink and speak in duck voice.”
We’ll have to wait until the film—which is being scripted by Alan Wenkus (Straight Outta Compton)—is eventually released to see if Brolin can somehow wring an emotionally moving performance from a Donald Duck impersonation. Here’s Jones and Wynette performing “(We’re Not) The Jet Set” in 1974, a year prior to their divorce: