LAS VEGAS – ‘I’ve got the set,’ shouted an inebriated Frances McDormand from the steps of the small Las Vegas wedding chapel where yesterday she married her second Coen Brother, probably Ethan or Joel.

The Oscar winning actress has already been married to one of the Coens, Joel or Ethan since 1984, but decided she would like to have both sometime in 2006.

Hollywood observer Yank Mayhew said:

Bigamy is becoming the new skateboarding in Hollywood circles. Already you have Goldie Hawn married to Kurt Russell, Russell Crowe and Russell Brand. But McDormand has gone for the jackpot, adding a tinge of incest to the brew. 

Sources close to the Coen Brothers camp reported that the siblings were in fact ‘relieved’ because for some time now they had been unable to remember who was married to the Fargo star:

Genuinely confused

 It would be quite funny as a matter of fact, as they squabbled about it once Frances had left the room. When she came back, they waited for her to say something or make a gesture and then would use that as a clue. I’m afraid to say Frances exploited their confusion to basically go home with the one she wanted. 

All of us at Studio Exec would like to wish the happy trio all the best for the future.

Hail Caesar is on general release.


SHOW ME A HERO – REVIEW – The guy who did The Wire directed by the ex-scientologist who did Crash starring the guy who’s now flying x-wings and everyone says Yonkers every two minutes. What’s not to like?

‘Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy,’ said the expert American tragedian F. Scott Fitzgerald and David Simon, who has turned prime time television into something of novelistic richness, returns with a true story about affordable housing in Yonkers.  Oscar Isaac plays Nick Wasicsko, a young Democratic councilman picked by his party to run against the popular incumbent (James Belushi). Without much of a hope or a particular vision – he agrees with his opponent about most things – he spots his opportunity when the Major decides not to appeal an unpopular court decision to build social housing in Yonkers, providing homes for hundreds of poor and inevitably black residents. Nick becomes the youngest major in America but soon discovers that the appeal he ran on is a non-starter and now it falls to him  to work a way out of the deadlock and face down the mobs of citizens who see him as a political opportunist and traitor.

Simon and co-writer Bill Zorzi, adapting Lisa Belkin’s book, spread the story around so we see the lives of the real people effected by the housing decision. This included a woman from the Dominican Republic who finds life so hard in the US she considers moving her family back to the DR; an old black lady who is going blind; young pregnant women with their men in various states of incarceration and a concerned resident who wants to protect her neighborhood without admitting to the racism of the movement of which she is a vocal member. As with Treme and The Wire, the central story is simply the inciting incident to discover the rich complexity of American urban life which is Simon’s recurrent theme. He is genuinely interested in these lives and those who would have been background in, say a Tom Hanks film of the same story, are resolutely in the foreground. To compete with these stories, you need a good lead and Oscar Isaac once more shows himself to be one of the best actors working in America today. Following performances in Two Faces of January, A Dangerous Year, Ex Machina and Inside Llewyn Davis, his young politician is a brilliantly subtle piece of characterisation. At once a bright-eyed decent man, he is also full of inglorious vanity and a desperate need – which perhaps lies at the heart of many a politician – to be loved. An ex-cop who likes his booze and his Bruce Springsteen, his moral compass is always having to be reset against his ambition and his good humor and optimism is gradually being chipped away by the complex compromises and the public loathing that are heaped on him. In a wonderful brief moment of triumph, he breaks into one of the building sites just for the pleasure of sitting in a digger, like a child, and thinking ‘I did this’.

If television is truly in a golden age – and I fully believe it is – then one of the main architects has to be David Simon and it is heartening to see that he is being afforded the opportunity to make intensely felt, intelligent and witty drama.

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INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: REVIEW – If the Coen brothers have produced something of lasting worth in this world of ours, it is a growing cast of characters, never conventional, occasionally dumb, occasionally dislikable, who nevertheless somehow manage to win our affection and respect: The Dude, Barton Fink, Tom Reagan, Marge Gunderson, Ed Crane and Ulysses Everett McGill. Llewyn Davis joins the club. Except Llewyn in common with many a Coen anti-hero, isn’t what you might call a joiner.

Set in the midst of the folk scene of the early Sixties, Llewyn (an amazing reputation making role by Oscar Isaac) is what you might call a prickly character. Unable to filter his disdain, or feign interest in what bores him, he is a folk singer who can’t bear folk. Despite his commitment to his art, his decisions are of the one step forward two steps back variety. 

The Coen brothers lovingly reproduce the world of the pre-Dylan Village, but their portrait of tragic failure is both hilarious and unflinching. Whereas biopics swirl with stories of against the odds down on their luck heroes who triumph over adversity, the Coens create another type of hero: the glorious f*ck up of Llewyn Davis. 

And there’s a cat. 


LONDON – The Coen Brothers‘ new film Inside Llewyn Davis ‘is not a porn movie’, insists star Oscar Isaac

Talking exclusively to the Studio Exec, Isaac was at pains to point out that – despite its racy title – the film, which will show at the London Film Festival before going on release in the Fall, was in fact a return to classical Coen territory. 

It’s actually set in the world of folk music in New York in the early sixties. I can’t say much more because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. But I can say that it is definitely not a porn movie. I don’t understand where on earth you got that notion from.

So you’re claiming it’s more erotica? 

No, it’s not erotica. It’s really not that concerned with … sex. It isn’t that kind of film.

How did you feel about having to perform full frontal nudity with Carey Mulligan?

 Well, I didn’t. Our characters have had a relationship but … Look let’s be absolutely clear, Inside Llewyn Davis is not a skin flick. It ain’t a porn movie. And that’s that. You understand? Finally?

Okay, so what does the title mean? 

Oh wait. Yeah. Now I think about it in the original cut there was this scene. It’s quite funny that I should have forgotten about it, but now it comes to mind. Anyway. Er, my character really needs money and he has to do some stuff. And you know how in Barton Fink the camera goes down the plughole and into the pipes? Well … But Ethan and Joel decide that tonally it was all wrong for the movie and so they got rid of it. So now, I’m beginning to see where the confusion comes from.

Inside Llewyn Davis will be released Fall, 2013.