The Coen Brothers Might Be Making A Music-Intensive Project Their Next Film

     June 11, 2011


The Coen brothers have no problem picking and choosing what they want to do next, and might be utilizing music as a major part of their next film. While Joel and Ethan Coen were gathered with Noah Baumbach to discuss film intros at the new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York, they briefly touched on what appears to be an unannounced project. The Coen brothers have a long list of potential projects but they seem to suggest this unnamed film is what they are working on now. For more on the project and what the Coens had to say, hit the jump.

coen-brothers-oscar-imageFor those interested in the Coen brothers and their method, the full conversation that The Playlist was able to cover should provide an interesting look behind the curtain. For now, though, we will focus on what the Coens had to say about their project with a musical flair. The film was brought up when an audience member mentioned a quote from 20 years ago when the Coens had said they wanted no part of a musical because playback (lip sync to recorded music in a scene) was irksome.

This is what the Coens had to say:

Ethan: That’s funny, I don’t remember playback being especially vexed in the USO scene [of Barton Fink]. O’ Brother Where Art Thou had a lot of music in it, which was a mix of everything from live performance, I mean on camera performance and a lot of playback and it’s funny we said that.

Joel: I actually don’t remember saying that or why we may have said it. There are certain cumbersome aspects of production that you get used to. We used quite a bit of playback on O’ Brother.

Noah: And you’re working on a movie now that has quite a bit of music in it.

Joel: Yeah, but I don’t know that it will have any playback.

Ethan: Yeah, it will be mostly live I think.

Joel: We’re working on a movie now that has music in it but it’s pretty much all performed live, single instrument so it’s hard to tell.

While they were pretty vague about the project, the Coen brothers did mention that the project is not being written with any particular actors in mind. The way they phrase things, it appears this is definitely an original creation and not one of the numerous adaptations or remakes they have set as future projects. Joel elaborated on the project a bit:

“In adaptations that we’ve done, even if we have ended up using the same actors, they have, generally speaking, been written because the characters are presented to you in an adaptation. So they’re written without regard to who’s necessarily going to play them, from our point of view. But in stories that we’re coming up with ourselves it’s frequently the case that we write for specific people although I have to say, the [musical] thing we’re doing now, we’re not writing specifically for any of the parts which is unusual for us.”

For more of what they said, check out The Playlist’s coverage to see why they think Baumbach might be more suited for the film. Also note that while they did mention there would be music involved in the film, it doesn’t sound like a musical just yet. Though it does appear to be more musically intensive than O’ Brother. We will certainly keep tabs on the project and will let you know if more details emerge.

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