Coen Brothers Marvel: We're 'the Mainstream Guys'

In NYT interview, Joel and Ethan surprised they're 'the establishment' now

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 7, 2013 9:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Joel and Ethan Coen give an interview to movie critics AO Scott and Manohla Dargis of the New York Times in which they marvel at the fact that they are now "the mainstream guys," shed a bit of light on their collaborative writing, and even offer a defense of James Cameron. It starts with the standard Q&As about their new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, then gets more interesting. Some examples:

  • Writing: "It’s always been the same. We don’t split it up. You know: 'You write this scene. You write that,'" says Joel. "There’s a lot of just sitting around talking ideas before we start writing anything. So there’s kind of a long period of that, and then we generally start at the beginning and just kind of start hammering the scenes out." Ethan does most of the typing.
  • Cameron: "If you’ll pardon me, the indie thing might all just be a journalists’ thing," says Ethan. "James Cameron makes huge movies that are what he wants to do, and they’re financed and released by studios. Indie is like, a term of praise that you use for us, fortunately, and some of you bash Jim Cameron for not being, although he kind of is."
  • 'The Establishment': "There was a point where we looked at each other, and we went, 'I guess we’re kind of the mainstream guys,'" says Joel. "You know, when we won the Oscar. ... We said, 'How'd that happen?'" (He notes that they would have happily taken big-studio money when they were starting out, had anyone offered.) Agrees Ethan: "We are the establishment now." He adds that Steven Spielberg can't figure out how it happened to him, either.
Click for the full interview.

This May 19, 2013, photo shows directors Ethan, left, and Joel Coen.
This May 19, 2013, photo shows directors Ethan, left, and Joel Coen.   (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File)
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