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Coen Brothers Working On NY Folk Movie?

Written by Barnaby Smith on June 29, 2011

The Coen brothers are reported to be planning a new film about the coffee house folk scene of New York’s Greenwich Village in the fifties and sixties. The film will be the famed brothers’ follow-up to their remake of the John Wayne film, True Grit.

First murmurings of this possible project emerged last month, with the LA Times now reporting that the work will be especially based around giant of that community Dave Van Ronk, a folk singer and musical scholar whose presence defined New York’s folk movement during that period. Van Ronk features prominently in Bob Dylan‘s Chronicles, and was also a helping hand to the careers of Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Joni Mitchell.

Van Ronk, who was also a political activist and was arrested during the famous Stonewall riots, died in 2002 at the age of 65. His memoirs, the Mayor of MacDougal Street, were published posthumously in 2005. It is thought that the Coen brothers may be using the book as a source for the film.

The Coens had previously given a press conference at the Lincoln Center in New York, where they said their next film would be music oriented, with Joel Coen saying “We’re working on a movie now that has music in it [that’s] pretty much all performed live, single instrument.”

No actors have yet been cast for the project.

Of course, the Coen brothers have embraced the cinematic possibilities of American folk music before, in their 2000 film O Brother Where Art Thou, a tribute to bluegrass or Appalachian music.


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