An Hour-Long Interview between the Coen Brothers and Noah Baumbach

     June 13, 2011


The Film Society of Lincoln Center held an hour-long discussion between Joel and Ethan Coen and fellow filmmaker Noah Baumbach.  Normally I’d bitch and moan about how jealous I was not to be there and then cry myself to sleep.  But not today! has kindly posted the discussion online and I know what I’ll be watching when I get off work today.  Some of the topics covered include how the Coens open their movies, their use of voice-over, how they use misdirection, and how their films compare to Baumbach’s.  The interview is also worth watching because the Coens rarely speak about the films and instead prefer to let them stand on their own.  People continue to speculate on the symbolism of the hat in Miller’s Crossing.

Hit the jump to check out the video and quotes pulled from the interview.

Interview via



And here are some quotes via The Playlist.  Ethan Coen commented on the simliarities between Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men:

“One of the things you realize after making movies for 25 years is the horrifying realization of how much you repeat yourself,” Joel admitted self-deprecatingly.” Ethan added, “It’s not the first time that 20 years later we thought it would be a really good idea to start a movie with a character you don’t know anything about and haven’t seen talk tediously at length at things that have nothing to do with this story. Although Cormac [McCarthy]’s writing is better than ours.”

On Sam Elliott’s narration in The Big Lebowski:

“[‘Lebowski’] was a case where we were specifically thinking about “The Third Man” where you have the narrator, you don’t know who the hell he is, who actually never makes an appearance in the movie. In our movie he’s sort of a floater,” Joel said. “You think you’re going to meet him but you don’t,” Ethan said. “It must be the ne plus ultra of something to have a narrator who loses his train of thought.”

Sam Elliott showed up on set for a few weeks of rehearsal, but he had no clue why he was there.  “He kept saying, ‘I don’t know why I’m here. I’m happy to be here, don’t get me wrong. But I have no idea what I’m doing in this movie,’ ” Joel said, laughing.


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