The Articles

FROM www.BillyBobapalooza.net

This past week, THE BARBER PROJECT has been filming in Pasadena and on the immaculately trimmed streets of the Old Town district in the city of Orange, California. Planeteers Sage and Amélie scoped out the Old Town location, where 1940s-era Buicks, Chevrolets, and Fords in cherry condition were decked out along the very streets where Tom Hanks filmed THAT THING YOU DO a few years ago. Old Town was transformed into small-town ’40s splendor, with a vintage plumbing truck, repainted storefronts for radio repairs, sewing shops, male extras in period hats, and whatnot. We didn’t see any barbershop nor, alas, did we get to see Billy Bob (he’d finished filming for the day, and they were cleaning out his trailer when we happened by). We can report that the production values look pretty high!

A noirish period piece, THE BARBER PROJECT will feature Billy Bob as a barber named Ed married to a faithless woman, played by Oscar™ winner Frances McDormand. Things get twisty between this less-than-happy couple when her boyfriend turns up dead. The Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan) are currently basking in the glow of positive response for their new film O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU. According to Angelina Jolie from her trans-Atlantic phone calls with her husband, Billy Bob has learned, among other things, how to powder a neck

FROM “Ain’t it Cool News”

A while back I reported on “O Brother Where Art Though” and now I have news on the latest Coen Brothers’ script “Untitled Barber Movie,” which already has Billy Bob Thorton and Frances McDormand attached in the leads. I won’t give away any pertinent plot details, but I will say the story is steeped in noir and reads like text-book Jim Thompson with a running voice-over straight outta Cain’s “Double Indemnity.” The script is set in 1949 and revolves around a “second chair” barber and his cheating wife. UFO’s, Dry-cleaning, homosexuality, barbers, fast-talking lawyers and dim-witted detectives all figure prominently in the script. I don’t see any reason why the Coen’s can’t make a very good film out of this material, but saying that, if I were an investor, I would not touch this script with a ten-foot pole. There are two kinds of people who will go see it: Coen diehards and 40s noir fiction fans. That should bring the box office total to about 5 million. But who cares??? Now, if we can just talk them into shooting the script in B&W;, I could die with a smile on my face without feelin’ like the good Lord gypped me…

FROM Variety

Coens land Thornton for ‘barber’ film Billy Bob Thornton has signed on to star in the as-yet-untitled new film from maverick filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, Variety reports.
The movie, which is being referred to by insiders as “the barber project”, is a period film noir described as being similar to “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” Frances McDormand, who won an Oscar in the Coens’ “Fargo,” will portray a femme fatale married to a barber.
Shooting begins June 21, with Joel Coen (McDormand’s husband) directing and Ethan Coen producing.
Meanwhile, the brothers’ next film is the 1930s chain gang story “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, with George Clooney. Other Thornton projects awaiting release are the just-completed “Wakin’ Up In Reno” and “Daddy And Them,” a comedy he wrote, stars in and directed. It is to open in September.
Thornton also directed an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s western novel “All The Pretty Horses,” which is due to open in October. After shooting the Coen brothers film, Thornton will then star with Bruce Willis and Cate Blanchett in director Barry Levinson’s “Outlaws,” Variety reports.

FROM Empire

Coen brothers Joel and Ethan are to reunite with actress Frances McDormand in a new project due to begin shooting this summer. But Getting together isn’t exactly a logistical nightmare for the team that gave Fargo its sparkle, as McDormand and Joel Coen are married, and Joel and Ethan have been working together since 1983’s Blood Simple, which also starred McDormand. The as-yet-unamed project will be a noir-ish drama made by UK production company Working Title.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s Upcoming & Other Projects

Suburbicon:

Empire Online is reporting that George Clooney is going to direct the Coen penned “Suburbicon”. Clooney is describing the script as “a really interesting, really funny, and very dark comedy.” Check out the full story www.empireonline.co.uk

No Country for Old Men:

Chris Hewitt of the St Paul Pioneer Press and Variety are reporting that the Coen Brothers next project will be an adaptation of the recently published “No Country for Old Men” by Cormac McCarthy. The article states that they will direct, not just an adaptation this time. I don’t know what this means to the previously rumored next project “Hail, Caesar” with George Clooney. Hopefully, it will happen eventually.

Hail, Caesar:

George Clooney is said to have decided to return to the big screen in a new movie directed by the Coen brothers, who arecurrently filming on Parise je t’aime’s 1st arrondissement.

According to Ain’t It Cool News,
Clooney talked to Vogue magazine about the new upcoming project, “Hail, Caesar!.”

The movie set in the 1920s revolves around a bunch of idiots attempting to put on a play of the Greek tragedy.

Joel and Ethan Coen will therefore complete their “idiot trilogy” with Clooney – the others being O Brother Where Art Thou (2000) and Intolerable Cruelty (2003).

The Ladykillers:

9/25/2002 From Variety.com – Tom Hanks has firmed up his next two starring roles. He’ll first take a steam train to the North Pole in the Robert Zemeckis-directed “Polar Express,” then play a thief in the Coen brothers-directed remake of “The Ladykillers” at Touchstone.

9/25/2002 from CNN.com – All signs point to Tom Hanks following “Polar Express” with the black comedy “Ladykillers.” The film is a contemporized remake of the 1955 Ealing comedy that starred Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers. Written by the Coen brothers and set in the South, the picture revolves around a crusty old landlady who unwittingly rents rooms to a group of thieves looking to use her haunt as a hideout. They try to dispose of the matron but find her fairly indestructible.

Romance and Cigarettes:

7/23/2002 from Eonline.com – James Gandolfini a song-and-dance man? O brother, art thou kidding me? Absolutely not. We’re talking the Coen brothers here.
Apparently, O Brother, Where Art Thou? was only a prelude for the ever-quirky tandem. Now, according to Daily Variety, director Joel and writer-producer Ethan Coen are tuning up for an encore to their Oscar-nominated (and Grammy-winning) folksy Depression-era musical odyssey and are eyeing the oversized godfather of The Sopranos to strut his stuff in the lead role.
The duo have reportedly agreed to produce and direct Romance and Cigarettes, a new musical being written by one of their favorite actors, John Turturro. (Aside from O Brother, Turturro starred in the Coens’ Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski and Miller’s Crossing.)
According to Variety, the story is a cross between the stylized 1981 Steve Martin musical Pennies from Heaven and The Honeymooners (remember, this is the Coen brothers) and takes place in Turturro’s hometown of Bensonhurst, New York.
Unlike O Brother–in which most of the cast, including star George Clooney, lip-synched to professional musicians–Romance and Cigarettes will follow the lead of Moulin Rouge and have all the actors doing their own singing and dancing.
Gandolfini would make his crooning debut in the film. The actor, who costarred in the Coens’ 2001 film The Man Who Wasn’t There, is in talks to play the lead, a Ralph Kramden type. The Coens will tailor the shooting schedule to coincide with The Sopranos hiatus in early 2003.
The filmmakers are also hoping to enlist such musical veterans as Susan Sarandon (who shot to fame in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Christopher Walken (who costarred in Pennies from Heaven and showed off his mean dance moves in the Fatboy Slim video “Weapon of Choice”). Other actors being courted for roles include Julia Stiles, Steve Buscemi and Gandolfini’s Sopranos sibling (and John Turturro’s real-life cousin) Aida Turturro.
Turturro is also trying to persuade his Mr. Deeds costar Adam Sandler to do a cameo in the movie. (Not, we pray, as Opera Man.)
The Coens will begin work on Romance once they put the wraps on Intolerable Cruelty, a black comedy starring Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones that just began production.
With Romance in the pipeline, the renaissance of the Hollywood musical is in full bloom. In addition to the recent O Brother, Moulin Rouge, Dancer in the Dark and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Miramax has huge expectations for the Christmas release of its big-screen version of Bob Fosse’s Chicago, starring Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Renée Zellweger .

To The White Sea:

Rumored to be the next Coen Brother’s release after “The Big Lebowski” but that obviously didn’t happen since “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There” have both come and gone in that time. But it is still believed that this will eventually be made. If they can get over the budget issues. The budget would have to be huge. And even Brad Pitt can’t guarantee a return on a film with almost no dialogue. If you have any further information about this project be sure to email me:reveler@coenbrothers.net

Gap and H&R Block Commercials:

The Coens directed two commercials in early 2002. One for Gap starring Christina Ricci and Dennis Hopper. And another for H&R Block sort of in the vain of “The Hudsucker Proxy” it aired during the 2002 Super Bowl.

The Gates of Eden:

Even if it didn’t contain a chomped ear and a decapitated head, Ethan Coen’s debut fiction collection would resemble the horrifically giggly crime films of the Coen brothers. You’ve got the bleakly realistic Midwest settings: a frazzled dad driven crazy driving his kids on a camping trip in “The Boys.” You’ve got the minutia of the middle-class life captured down to the last speck of “abstractly speckled linoleum” (“The Old Country”). You’ve got comically incompetent thugs (Mafiosi spectacularly failing to bring Mob rule to Minneapolis in “Cosa Minapolidan,” a college-boy boxer turned private dick in “Destiny”). You’ve got ghastly, amusing caricatures of showbiz moguls: the record-company guy soliloquizing in “Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland” could be as real as his allusions to the personal foibles of Cat Stevens and Danny Thomas. Above all, you’ve got a mockingly self-conscious yet vibrantly original style of pulp-culture homage and spoofy, sharp, vulgar dialogue like nobody else on earth can write, except Joel.

The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way:

Ethan’s second effort in the literary world. A collection of poems.

Crimewave:

A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric chair. Directed by Sam Raimi it represents the Coen’s second script to hit the big screen. Little information is actually known about this movie and it is very hard to find. If you have seen it or know when I can get a copy…Email me reveler@coenbrothers.net

The Naked Man:

Of course, this isn’t a Coen brothers film, but it does have a strong connection to their films with Ethan Coen contributing to the script (but not producing) and with the Coen’s storyboard artist J. Todd Anderson directing and also co-writing. As to be expected, it’s not as good as a full Coen brothers effort, but worth a look for anyone who is a fan of the Coens (as I am). That said, it’s not a great movie. It does have a pretty funny central concept, but to me, it never seemed to completely get off the ground. J. Todd Anderson directs the film in a similar style to Joel Coen, but he isn’t near as good as writing funny dialog. There is some stuff here that people with a weird sense of humor (like me) will appreciate, but mostly the film is meandering and pointless. Definately not on the same level as the Coen brothers’ classics, but worth seeing for anyone who likes the Coens, or weird comedies in general.

Spies Like Us:

Joel appeared as Drive-in security in the film. Just thought that might be interesting to someone.

THE LATEST AT COENESQUE

Wii Sports meets The Big Lebowski

Watch, enjoy.
http://www.gametrailers.com/umwatcher.php?id=23836

SATURDAY, MAY 06, 2006

Josh Brolin Joins “No Country” Cast

Variety is reporting that Josh Brolin has been cast to play Llewellyn Moss the main character in Joel and Ethan’s upcoming “No Country for Old Men”. He joins Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem for the film that has supposedly begun filming this month in New Mexico.

MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2006

New info on “No Country For Old Men” shooting schedule

An Albuquerque news station has a short article on the status NCFOM shooting. Apparently the governor of New Mexico is the source.
KRQE News

SATURDAY, MARCH 04, 2006

Romance and Cigarettes UK Release Date

John Turtorro’s Coen produced “Romance and Cigarettes” is set to hit the big screen in the UK on March 24th. No word on Icon Entertainment or IMDB.com on what the release date is for the US. Here’s the official from synopsis from Icon Entertaiment.

Directed by John Turturro (ILLUMINATA), executive produced by The Coen Brothers (THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?, FARGO) and produced by John Penotti (IN THE BEDROOM, SWIMFAN, ILLUMINATA).

ROMANCE & CIGARETTES is the new project from actor, writer and director JOHN TURTURRO. Set in contemporary America, ROMANCE & CIGARETTES is a modern day musical, a dark and passionate comedy which tells the story of one man’s journey into infidelity and redemption. It stars JAMES GANDOLFINI as our hero Nick Murder and revolves around the repercussions of his adultery and doomed fascination with the flame haired seductress Tula (KATE WINSLET). For Kitty (SUSAN SARANDON), Nick’s long suffering wife, his treachery is the final straw. With faith in her husband shattered she surprises even herself with the ferocity of her anger as she struggles to cope with his betrayal. It is only through a tragic twist of fate that Nick finally understands the extent of the pain he has inflicted on his family. With time running out he discovers the essential value of Kitty’s love and respect.

In ROMANCE & CIGARETTES Turturro has crafted a gritty, exhilarating and intense script. He describes the film as a savage musical. “When the characters can no longer express themselves in words, they break into song, lip-synching the tunes that are lodged in their subconscious. It is their way to escape the reality of their world: to dream, to remember, to connect to another human being” says Turturro. The film combines sharp snappy dialogue worthy of David Mamet at his most brilliant with the visual flare and exquisite originality of the Coen Brothers.

“This is a project that we’re proud to be a part of” say JOEL and ETHAN COEN Executive Producers of ROMANCE & CIGARETTES.

Employing a fabulously eclectic mix of contemporary and classic songs, and featuring such diverse artists as James Brown, Nick Cave and Bruce Springsteen, ROMANCE & CIGARETTES is a unique tale of sex and mortality that will mesmerise audiences.

Clooney At It Again

In an interview over at Ain’t It Cool News George Clooney mentioned something unusual. He states that Joel, Ethan, and he are going to begin work on a project this spring called “Burn After Reading”. He discribes it as “really fun, really funny.” “No Country for Old Men” is a lock at this point, they will begin shooting in May. What is Clooney talking about? He’s the source for 3 different rumored projects “Suburbicon”, “Hail, Caesar!”, and now “Burn After Reading”. Note to self… Never trust a quote from George Clooney.

Update 2/11/2006
According to ClooneyStudio.com George will finish work on “Michael Clayton” in April. After which he’s stating he’ll begin work on “Burn After Reading”. The Coens will just be starting No Country. It’s also to be noted that he’s described this project as the third in his “idiot trilogy” with the Coens. Exactly the same way he described “Hail, Caesar!”. Is this a new name for Hail, Caesar? Perhaps Clooney is being misquoted and he’s actually talking about Spring 2007. This all remains to be seen.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2006

“No Country” budgeted at $25 – $30 million

The Hollywood Reporter has a little more information on “No Country For Old Men”. Including its budget as well as the news that Heath Ledger was in talks to star but decided to take some time off instead. Check out the story.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2006

Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem to Star in “Old Men”

According to Variety Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem (Collateral) are in talks to star in “No Country for Old Men”. Shooting is set to begin in New Mexico and Texas in May. Scott Rudin is going to produce along side the Coens for this joint venture between Miramax and Paramount Classics.
Joel and Ethan adapted this novel by Cormac McCarthy. It takes place in West Texas in 1980. Following the story of a Vietnam vet finds the remnants of a Heroin deal gone bad. He’s then hunted by the interested parties who want their money back.

“Hail, Caesar” to start shooting SOON!

Word is “Hail, Caesar” is going to start shooting soon. This makes it official. Hopefully it can be ready for the end of the year. Following the story of a 1920’s theater troupe putting on, or trying at least, a production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”. George Clooney is the one source we have on this picture, so we can assume he’s in the cast. That’s all the info we have at this time.
I’ve put a new page in the movies section dedicated to film number twelve. If you want to see previous posts about the film please go there.

Interview – jeff Bridges – The Big Lebowski

Questioner: So you’ve lost some weight?

Bridges: Yeah, back to the old me, huh?

Questioner: Well, the character feels like you, too. You seem so unabashedly proud of that pot belly.

Bridges: Well, the physical thing is one of the first things you do to figure out a character. The Dude not the kind of guy to be doing a lotta sit-ups, and he gets most of his nutrition from kahlua, vodka and milk, so yeah, he doesn’t mind looking the way he does. He eats pretty much whenever and whatever he wants. And I drew on myself a lot from back in the Sixties and Seventies.

Questioner: What did you do then?

Bridges: (peers over his glasses at me, to see if I’m really asking this question) Uh…pretty much what everybody else was doing. I think. What I can remember of it.

Questioner: Seriously, what were you doing when everybody was tripping and being hippies?

Bridges: I lived in a little place like that and did drugs, although I think I was a little more creative than the Dude. But then maybe the Dude went through a creative period and just grew out of it. During my Dude-period, I painted a lot and made music. See, the Coens have this friend Jeff, uh, Jeff Dowd that they based the character on.

Questioner: Of course! Jeff Dowd, we know Jeff. He used to program the Seattle Film Festival, then he moved to California and did…well, I’m not sure what he did, but he was always around at all the festivals. Then he started working in independent film for a while in the Eighties, and he’s just an all-round great guy, a lotta fun to hang out with and yeah. The Dude. So did you meet Jeff Down?

Bridges: Yeah, I liked him, too. So I took some stuff from him for the Dude, and also from some of my own friends like that. But to be honest, it’s mostly just me. I think. It was so great to work with the Coens – they’re so relaxed. And the way things are set up, it works well. They know what they want and how to get it without a lot of hysteria. It’s not like those big studio movies where everybody feels the tension of the money and the studio executives breathing down the neck of the director and producer. Here, the money-people are so happy to be working with them, it’s kind of the other way around. The Coens are laid-back and easy, and they like other people to be that way. It makes for a very relaxed feeling on the set. They low-ball everything, so instead of stretching it, they do what they can do within a smaller budget and, frankly, they’re creative enough to do that. Not everybody can be that creative.

Questioner: Who’s your favorite character of the ones you’ve played?

Bridges: That’s hard. I like Starman. They come and go and I think different things about them at different times. Obviously, I really like The Dude. I love all the films, although it sort of depends on how well the movie works. Each of them is like a little lifetime that I’ve lived, so my feelings also depend on how much fun the character had being himself. Does that make sense?

Questioner: Sure, so where does that put Tron?

Bridges: Tron? Jeez, did someone say Tron? I had to wear a dance belt in Tron.

Questioner: How about Cutter’s Way? Is the Dude related to that guy at all?

Bridges: Yeah, but Bone probably did sit-ups.

Questioner: What was the most complicated shot for you in The Big Lebowski?

Bridges: Not the most complicated, but the most fun? It reminds me of something that happened in that sequence where I float through all those girls legs. Well that day was on the schedule as the dream sequence, and I thought it would be the Busby Berkeley where I dance down the steps, you know? That seemed cool, so I invited my wife and kids to come on set that day, cause they like to see us making the movies and all, y’know? But the Coens switched it and did the other imaginary sequence, and I thought oh god, what’re my kids going to think when I turn over and I’m staring up these girls’ dresses? So I didn’t know it, but all the girls – the dancers got together and pulled this trick on me. As I float through there and turn and look up a dress, I see this big – well, tufts of hair coming out everywhere – and it’s the same under the next girl’s skirt. And they all seem to have – well, y’know? It turns out they’d put these big wigs under their leotards between their legs, hidden by their skirts, so only I would see it. And fortunately, Lloyd Catlett, my dear, beloved friend and stand-in whose been on my pictures ever since The Last Picture Show was in on it and had the good sense to tell my wife. So she was waiting to see the look on my face, and now everybody was in on it. It was really funny, but I couldn’t laugh. But that’s why I have that weird smile on my face in the picture. But the expression on my twelve year old daughter’s face was just as weird. She didn’t know what to make of it.

Questioner: You’re at a very comfortable point of your career.

Bridges: I’ve been lucky to be able to do a lot of different types of roles. My father was so good at pulling off Nelson the Deep Sea Diver that he got type-cast. Everybody seemed to think he could only do pictures that had to do with water. Later in his career, he managed to do some airplane movies, and he pulled those off, only to be type-cast again as a pilot-type. So then, about the time I was doing Blown Away, I was talking to the producer, and I said – y’know, trying to be cool about it – I know a great guy who could do these pilot roles, because he understand all that. His names Lloyd Bridges – we’re sort of related. Like he was my uncle or something. And the producer turns to me and says with a completely straight face, “Not Lloyd Bridges. He’s really only a comedian.” So even though I’ve tried my best, I may get typecast and not even know it.

Questioner: Going back to the Dude, what does he do? Like to pay the rent?

Bridges: Well, he probably lets it get several months overdue, then he feels bad and asks Walter or somebody if they have something for him to actually do in order to earn some bread. And he probably has a great record collection, and he charges to let people make recordings off it. And he does what comes his way – as long as he can keep buying kahlua.

Questioner: OK. I’ll drink to that.

THE LATEST AT COENESQUE

Coens to produce “Seasons of Dust”

Tim Blake Nelson’s next directorial project “Seasons of Dust” will be executive produced by Joel and Ethan. According to IMDB it is the story a girl who’s life is turned upside down when her father leaves the family farm. Nelson wrote the film which will begin shooting in August in Oklahoma, and it should be out sometime in 2006.