While a new slate of films awaited first reactions in Venice, the Coen Brothers were in New York discussing a film already branded a standout gem months before its release. When “Inside Llewyn Davis” premiered at Cannes in May to rapturous reviews, including our A-grade take, it marked a touching biopic of sorts delving into the ’60s NY folk scene, and during a recent screening of the film at Telluride, the sibling directors — prolific as ever — dropped a hint as to that musical interest continuing on into a future project.
In a wide-ranging conversation fielded with help from frequent musical collaborator T-Bone Burnett, the Coens discussed the influence and application of music in their films, both sourced and supplied by composer Carter Burwell; and aside from naming “The Third Man” and “Once” as favorite movie musicals, Joel briefly touched on a possible attempt at one of their own.
“You always hesitate to mention these things when you are in the middle of them, because sometimes they just go in a drawer and never surface again and then people ask ‘what ever happened to that thing’ for the next 20 years," Joel said, before adding, "We are writing something right now where the main character is an opera singer."
As Joel cautiously mentioned, a project undertaken by the Coens is likely to alter completely dozens of times before making its way to screens, but the initial prospect of another industry-set musical examination from them seems a treat. As for potential influences, just as “Inside Llewyn Davis” was inspired by folk singer Dave Van Ronk for its main character (played by Oscar Isaac), a major element from 2009’s “A Serious Man” is the Yiddish song “Dem Milners Trern,” sung by opera singer Sidor Belarsky. Could they have found ripe material in researching his story?
Regardless, we still have the delight that is “Inside Llewyn Davis” coming up when the film opens December 6th, and you can hear Belarsky’s most famous tune below while you ponder the Coens’ next move. [Film Society Lincoln Center]