When Brolin isn't working, what he likes to do most is go surfing. He grew up surfing and was once a pretty decent contest surfer. Sometimes he'll take out a short board and slash and hack like the kids do, but usually he prefers the classier moves you can do on a longboard, hanging nonchalant on a long right like Miki Dora used to do. Not long ago, he bought a small piece of land in an extremely private and exclusive community up the California coast, just so he could gain access to its fabled point-break rights. "It was a childhood dream to own a place there," he says, "and that's where I'll go by myself and just spend time." In the L.A. area, he most often frequents Zuma Beach and Malibu, where he'll hang out with the big dogs at Third Point, often in the company of Jordan Tappis, an ex-pro surfer whose presence in the lineup ensures that Brolin doesn't get hassled. "Yeah, as long as I'm with him," says Brolin, "I'm pretty taken care of."
Photograph by Mark Seliger
He also likes to hop in his big black Dodge Ram 4x4, get his "little rat dog Milo" situated on the center console, and spend the next three and a half hours driving north on the I-5, holding his own among all the 18-wheelers and Mack trucks. Along the way, if he's got ideas for a poem or prose piece, he'll dictate them into his cellphone. The time passes like nothing. He's going home. Home is not L.A. He's got a house there, a very small one on a 6,000-square-foot lot, bought 11 years ago when times weren't so flush, where he raised his kids, Trevor, 24, and Eden, 19, from an early marriage to actress Alice Adair. It's where Diane now cooks him her favorite dishes. ("She makes a mean steak and mean mashed potatoes and mean fried chicken.") But that's not home. Home is where he's heading.