Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Christopher Nolan Says 'Interstellar' Is About "What It Means To Be A Dad”; Plus Check Out New Pics Christopher Nolan Says 'Interstellar' Is About "What It Means To Be A Dad”; Plus Check Out New Pics Paul Schrader, Nicolas Winding Refn & Nicolas Cage Campaign Against Their Film 'Dying Of The Light' Paul Schrader, Nicolas Winding Refn & Nicolas Cage Campaign Against Their Film 'Dying Of The Light' WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting Retrospective: The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective: The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson WB Reveals Full DC Slate Through 2020, Including Two 'Justice League' Pics, 'Wonder Woman,' 'Green Lantern' & More WB Reveals Full DC Slate Through 2020, Including Two 'Justice League' Pics, 'Wonder Woman,' 'Green Lantern' & More Brad Bird Explains Why He Passed On Directing 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Brad Bird Explains Why He Passed On Directing 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Shia LaBeouf Cut His Own Face, Fought The Cast & Got A Tooth Pulled Making 'Fury' Shia LaBeouf Cut His Own Face, Fought The Cast & Got A Tooth Pulled Making 'Fury' Robert Downey Jr. To Join Chris Evans In ‘Captain America 3’ Which Will Help Launch A New Phase Of Marvel Robert Downey Jr. To Join Chris Evans In ‘Captain America 3’ Which Will Help Launch A New Phase Of Marvel BFI London Film Festival Review: Susanne Bier's Long-Delayed 'Serena' Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper BFI London Film Festival Review: Susanne Bier's Long-Delayed 'Serena' Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper Oscar Buzz: Who's Going To Challenge For Best Actress This Year? Oscar Buzz: Who's Going To Challenge For Best Actress This Year? Robert Downey Jr. Says Superhero Films Are Becoming “Old" And Showing "Signs Of Fraying Around The Edges” Robert Downey Jr. Says Superhero Films Are Becoming “Old" And Showing "Signs Of Fraying Around The Edges” Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 6 ‘Devil You Know’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 6 ‘Devil You Know’ Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

5 Things You Should Know About The Making Of 'No Country For Old Men'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 9, 2012 at 3:40PM

At the start of 2007, the Coen Brothers were not in a good place in their careers. Even after the major success of "O Brother Where Art Thou" and the critical acclaim of "The Man Who Wasn't There," they weren't able to get their Brad Pitt-starring adaptation of James Dickey's WWII novel "To the White Sea" financed, and two commercially-aimed star-laden pictures, "Intolerable Cruelty" and "The Ladykillers," had disappointed financially and seen them pick up the worst reviews of their careers.
1

No Country For Old Men
3. Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino directed Josh Brolin's screen test.
Given the number of stars that the Coens usually attract, the choice of Josh Brolin to lead the film was a somewhat surprising one. Brolin chased the part hard, though, and ended up enlisting some A-list talent to put him on tape while he was shooting "Planet Terror." “Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino filmed my first audition on a $1 million Genesis camera during lunch during 'Grindhouse,' " the actor said, "and so that was a really cool looking audition." But it didn't quite have the desired effect. "It was turned down. They watched it and their response was, ‘Who lit it?’ I was much bigger and I had a goatee, but it had nothing to do with the physicality. They just didn’t see it. It’s not what they were looking for at that moment. It wasn’t resonating and I have a brilliant agent who just became a persistent pest and just said, ‘Meet him, meet him, meet him, meet him.’ Not, ‘He’s perfect for the part.’ Not, ‘You’re making a mistake.’ Just, ‘Meet him.’ " Eventually the Coens relented, met with Brolin, and the actor got the part. Still, he nearly blew it again, coming off his motorbike on the way back from a wardrobe fitting and breaking his collarbone. Fortunately, Llewelyn get shot in the shoulder early on, so the Coen gave him the thumbs up.

No Country For Old Men
4. Paul Thomas Anderson ruined a whole day of shooting on the film.
For much of the shoot, the Coens picked out the isolated area of Marfa, Texas as their location, where films including "Giant" and "The Andromeda Strain" had previously lensed. By coincidence, there was another filmmaker using the region at the same time -- Paul Thomas Anderson, who was shooting another neo-Western, "There Will Be Blood." It seems like for the most part, the two projects -- which later became awards rivals -- were able to co-exist happily. But there was one clash. When Anderson's crew tested the pyrotechnics for the oil derrick fire, the amount of smoke produced was such that the Coens, who happened to be shooting wide shots in the direction of the "There Will Be Blood," had to suspend production for the day. Still, the Coens got their payback on Oscar night...

No Country For Old Men
5. Composer Carter Burwell used Buddhist singing bowls for the score.
Once again, Joel and Ethan Coen were reunited with Carter Burwell, their regular composer who'd worked on every one of their films except, "O Brother Where Art Thou," since "Blood Simple." But despite the film being a thriller, the decision was to pare the music right down. As sound editor Skip Lievsay told the New York Times, "Suspense thrillers in Hollywood are traditionally done almost entirely with music,” he said. “The idea here was to remove the safety net that lets the audience feel like they know what’s going to happen. I think it makes the movie much more suspenseful. You’re not guided by the score and so you lose that comfort zone." Ethan Coen had suggested minimal music, and Burwell agreed, saying "My first suggestion was that if there’s music, it should somehow emanate from the landscape." They tried using abstract sounds like violin harmonics and percussion, but Burwell found that even those "destroyed the tension that came from the quiet." Ultimately, Burwell used singing bowls, bells used in Buddhist meditation, as his primary instrument, tuning them to different frequencies -- including, for one indoor scene, a tone intended to mirror the hum of a refrigerator. Ultimately, only 16 minutes of score are in the film, mostly over the credits.  
 

This article is related to: Features, Coen Brothers, Javier Bardem, On This Day In Movie History


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates