The Coen Brothers Say They’re Working on a Film about Ancient Rome; Could Just Be Messing with Everyone

     December 2, 2013


One of the many great things about the Coen Brothers’ is the way they limit their interviews.  They refuse to go in depth about the thematic elements of their movies or even overarching discussions about their careers.  Ambiguity gives their movies more room to breathe and invites thoughtful interpretations.  With their latest film Inside Llewyn Davis, the furthest they’ve gone is discussing the film’s inspiration (Dave Von Ronk‘s memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street) and production aspects like selecting the appeal of the era and working on the music with frequent collaborator T-Bone Burnett.

And while the Brothers’ shooting style is steady and deliberate, they don’t take themselves too seriously. That’s why in a recent interview with the AP, they have playfully hinted they’re writing a movie about ancient Rome.  Hit the jump for more.

coen-brothers-oscar-imageThe Coens have effortlessly moved between time periods and genres without losing their style, but they’ve always stuck to America and their longest trip to the past was the 19th century with True Grit.  Ancient Rome is a big leap geographically and chronologically, but here’s what they had to say to the AP about the project:

Right now, the brothers are plainly excited about what they’re writing, which they proudly explain, is set in ancient Rome. It’s the allure of the unexpected, all over again.

“It’s like: Would you ever do a sandal movie?” laughs Joel. “It’s big,” says Ethan, grinning.

Though their movies usually revel in the absurdity of life’s predicaments, Ethan promises this film has answers: “It’s not like our piddly ‘A Serious Man.'” Chimes Joel: “That was a cop-out. We just totally chickened out on that one.”

“We hadn’t grown up,” says Ethan. “In that respect, OK, we have matured. We’re ready to answer the big questions now.”

Like I said, they don’t take themselves, or outside explorations of their work, too seriously, so it’s difficult to tell if they’re being honest about this one.  It’s an exciting prospect, but I’m pretty sure they’re being sarcastic about A Serious Man.  Furthermore, the Coen Brothers have always maintained their independence by keeping their budgets low.  A film about ancient Rome could require more cash, which usually comes with more restrictions.

It’s fun to speculate on what the Coens will do next because their films are so diverse, but in the meantime, be sure to check out Inside Llewyn Davis, which opens in limited release on Friday and will expand throughout the month.


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