The Coen Brothers

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Joel (LEFT) and Ethan Coen
Joel (LEFT) and Ethan Coen
From Messrs. Joel and Ethan Coen, we've come to expect no less than a jab, twist, or long, hard screw up against the wall with the conventions of moviemaking. Since the sibling duo first teamed on 1984's tilted noir caper Blood Simple, they've stocked the library of cinema with some of its most eccentric yet entertaining films like Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, Fargo and O Brother Where Art Thou, stories that seem to favor odd plotlines, quirky characters and mindfully cheeky technique over the more easily digestible viewing experience. In 2007, the brothers (repped for special projects out of Company Films) outdid themselves on No Country For Old Men, faithfully rendering novelist Cormac McCarthy's grisly tale while remaining, well, The Coen Brothers. The film features a ne'er do-well trailer park dweller, played by Josh Brolin, who gets all tangled up with some seriously tainted drug money, only to be stalked by Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh, who wields a bulky cattle gun and makes for a shit-in-your-pants scary psychopath—despite his sissy pageboy. The strange 'do was nowhere in McCarthy's novel, but it's an example of the hilarious, yet slightly disturbing touches found in the Coens' brand of filmmaking. The movie earned critical raves and has gone on to become one of the beefiest contenders for this year's Oscars, sweeping up eight nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

On their proudest creative accomplishment on No Country for Old Men: "Well, we managed to work in a talking horse that was not in Cormac McCarthy's original novel.We gave Tommy Lee Jones' sheriff character a horse that offered him advice about how to solve the case, and we created a lot of amusing computer imagery that made the horse's lip and jaw movements correlate realistically with its speech. The horse was voiced by the very talented actor Ed Norton. We also created a lot of wacky situations where the horse gave Tommy Lee Jones 'egg on his face' by refusing to talk when other people were present. There were a lot of really good situations but the studio didn't like the whole concept and made us cut it all out. They added a lot of gunplay and gore so that they could sell the thing as an action movie, which we weren't terribly happy about, but we're still proud of what we managed to achieve.And at the end of the day the movie has garnered a lot of accolades so we can't complain."

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