YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Ethan Coen: A man of few words

Ethan Coen and brother Joel are the definition of 'cool,' as in no big deal. But Ethan takes low-key to new levels, according to Josh Brolin, who's worked with them on two films now.

January 11, 2011|By Glenn Whipp, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • The Coen brothers are known for staying "cool" on set.
The Coen brothers are known for staying "cool" on set. (Vincenzo Pinto / AFP / Getty…)

Jeff Bridges calls the Coen brothers "cool," as in "no big deal. They don't get excited too much."

Josh Brolin, who, like Bridges, has worked with the Coens on two movies now, takes Bridges' description and runs with it.

"They're extremely low-key … sometimes too low-key," Brolin says, laughing. "Ethan and I had dinner once. And I see him, he's got something under the table. And I go, 'Dude, what are you doing?' And I reached over and saw that he'd brought a book. He was reading a book. 'Dude, c'mon. You can't do that.' 'Oh. Sorry.'

"Now with 99.999% of anyone else, especially actors, it'd be an affectation. But with Ethan, it almost comes out of insecurity. Like, 'What if I have nothing to say? Ah, I'll bring a book.'"

Brolin worked with the brothers on "No Country for Old Men," which took home Oscars for screenplay, direction, picture and supporting actor ( Javier Bardem).

"Joel has the gift of gab a little more, but Ethan? He was probably the one person thinking, 'Please, God, don't let our movie win,'" Brolin says. "Then he won and you could see the terror gripping him. And he gets up — and it brings tears to my eyes because it's so authentic — he gets to the podium, leans over and says, 'Thanks.' That's it. 'Thanks.'

"That's the most real moment you'll ever get at the Oscars," Brolin says. "All the crying, boo-hoo-hoo … that's nice too. But it can't compare."

Los Angeles Times Articles