I know I am not the only one excited to know what the next film from Joel and Ethan Coen will be. They have scripted the Michael Hoffman (The Last Station) helmed remake of Gambit; that according to IMDB is currently in post-production. The next project that they will be both directing and writing may at first seem a tad peculiar amongst the rest of the Brothers’ filmography. That very project is an adaptation of Dave Van Ronk’s memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street.
It was back in June during the opening of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, a new facility erected on behalf of The Film Society of Lincoln Center, that the Coens first made allusions to this new venture. As they sat alongside Noah Baumbach in a discussion of their films’ openings mentions were made of a script in progress that will feature naturalistic dialogue, a lot single instrument-music performances to be recorded live on set, and extreme attention to capture the feel of a specific time and place. That time and place will be no other than New York City’s Greenwich Village during the ’60s, the epicenter of the folk music revival scene which spawned Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell,and Phil Ochs to name a few. Dave Van Ronk was a friendly staple of the Village, and noted as a major influence of the sound which defined many of the performers who came out of there with a blend of blues style, and complex harmonies.
Variety announced this week that StudioCanal will co-finance the film. In addition, Scott Rudin will produce while Robert Graf will act as Executive Producer – the same positions they filled on No Country for Old Men and True Grit. It was also revealed that the film will now be called Inside Llewyn Davis. This can surely be seen as an indicator that this won’t be a direct adaptation. In a recent interview with frequent Coen-collaborator Roger Deakins, the master cinematographer spoke of a film he was going to shoot in a style emulating the work of D.A. Pennebaker. If I was the sort of lad who liked to place bets, Inside Llewyn Davis is that movie. This is interesting on a number of levels. Other than the opportunity for bold characters this (at least to me) wouldn’t seem like obvious Coen fare. The stylistic details that have been mentioned have writers around the net making Robert Altman comparisons. Joel and Ethan themselves regarded to Baumbach at the Lincoln Center function that it would be something he would do. It would definitely seem as if they want move away from the sensibility we all know them for as their remake of True Grit, while no doubt having some Coen flourishes, still seems quite restrained in the light of their other work even compared with something like Miller’s Crossing. Not to in any way imply that is indicative of quality. Another aspect of this is how cool it will to see a movie within this world. The Village-Folk scene has really only been touched upon in light of Dylan as in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There and Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home. I am a sucker for music films, and even more fascinated when they attempt to embody a particular scene itself. Well, I am already there. The Coen Brothers could make a movie based on Swedish Fish, and my tickets already bought. Your thoughts, the Third Row?