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Oscar Watch: True Grit's Joel Coen Interviews Somewhere's Sofia Coppola

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 22, 2010 at 9:10AM

It's an honorable Directors Guild tradition to have one member interview another. But Sofia Coppola landed a big fish when fellow-Oscar-winner Joel Coen agreed to interview her for Somewhere, perhaps because he respects her lack of eagerness to participate in such events. While both are accomplished writer-directors (Ethan Coen shares with Joel writing and producing credits on such films as Fargo and No Country for Old Men), neither are known for being particularly forthcoming in interviews. But it was in both of their interest to do this, as Coen is just finishing True Grit, another possible Oscar contender.
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Thompson on Hollywood

It's an honorable Directors Guild tradition to have one member interview another. But Sofia Coppola landed a big fish when fellow-Oscar-winner Joel Coen agreed to interview her for Somewhere, perhaps because he respects her lack of eagerness to participate in such events. While both are accomplished writer-directors (Ethan Coen shares with Joel writing and producing credits on such films as Fargo and No Country for Old Men), neither are known for being particularly forthcoming in interviews. But it was in both of their interest to do this, as Coen is just finishing True Grit, another possible Oscar contender.

EW covered the Q & A. Some highlights are below:


Coen, who began by professing his admiration of Coppola’s body of work, kick-started the discussion with a question he said he gets asked a lot: “When you were little, did you make movies with your brothers?” Coppola’s brother, Roman, is actually a producer on the film, and her father, film giant and oenophile Francis Ford Coppola, is an executive producer. The Lost in Translation director drew a big laugh when talking about the role her father plays in her own filmmaking saying, “I feel like he’s sort of a… well, I don’t want to say ‘godfather.’ But I can go to him for questions and advice along the way.”

Coppola said she wanted to have Somewhere be a smaller, more intimate film after all the costumes and Versailles-shoots necessary for 2006’s Marie Antoinette. “And also, I wanted to do something from a guy’s point of view,” she told the audience. “Marie Antoinette was so decorative, and girly, and frilly, that after that, I wanted to do something as minimal as possible. Just something different after being in that crazy macaroon world for so long.” When she was asked by an audience member why she takes such a long time between movies, Coen, who has made a movie a year with his brother for the last four years, interjected, “Work faster!”

Both Somewhere and True Grit open on Dec. 22. Here's
my interview with Coppola from the Venice Fest, where the movie won the Golden Lion.

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Genres, Studios, Stuck In Love, Interviews , Oscars, Coens, Sofia Coppola, Drama, Universal/Focus Features, Paramount/Vantage/Insurge/CBS, Screenwriters


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.