A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009)

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Antoine Doinel
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A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009)

#1 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:03 pm

This low-budget film, reportedly cast with unknowns will shoot right after Burn After Reading in Minnesota, though some footage has already been shot.

Here's the Wiki page as well an article about the film.

The Guardian sheds some more light on the film.
They currently have three projects lined up to follow the triumphant No Country For Old Men. Burn After Reading - a caper about the CIA, gym culture and internet dating, starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney - is already in the can. Once that is polished off, shooting is set to start on A Serious Man near the Coens' hometown of St Louis Park, Minnesota. The Gopher State was, of course, the locale for Fargo, but in place of that film's memorably Scandinavian milieu, A Serious Man will be seriously Jewish. Set in 1967 and located within the town's Jewish community, it focuses on a college professor seeking advice from several rabbis while in the throes of domestic and
professional crises. Although the plot isn't autobiographical, the Coens will draw on their own experiences in this environment, including attending Hebrew school and being the adolescent children of academics. The picture also reportedly includes a sequence set in Poland a century ago, involving a rabbi and Jewish wedding customs and superstitions, which will be spoken entirely in Yiddish.

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#2 Post by hot_locket » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:09 pm

Sounds interesting. I love how these guys have really been kicking into gear.

What's the third project mentioned in that article?

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domino harvey
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#3 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:39 pm

I imagine they're referring to Suburbicon

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Jeff
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#4 Post by Jeff » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:51 pm

Clooney is directing Suburbicon. The article linked above goes on to describe the third film, an adaptation of Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union.
But that will be a mere taster compared to the film-makers' next project, an adaptation of Michael Chabon's novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union. The murder-mystery story is set in an alternative reality in which Jewish refugees from the Nazis were granted settlement rights in Alaska, resulting in a Yiddish-speaking north American enclave where there's convenience shopping at "Big Macher", cops are called "latkes" and mobile phones are "shoyfers" ("the ceremonial ram's horn sounded by the priests of the Hebrews", as Tom Hanks' character in The Ladykillers helpfully explains). It's unlikely that the Coens will offer a whole film spoken in Yiddish, but the setting will be as culturally Jewish as that of any studio movie in recent history - perhaps more thoroughly Jewish than any real-world film set outside Israel or Orthodox life could be.
Here is the Variety story that broke the news about YPM last month

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carax09
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#5 Post by carax09 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:00 am

Oh, that's terrific news! The novel is a police procedural (complete with world weary detective seeking redemption) within this wonderfully inventive alternative reality. This is almost like if Ridley Scott decided to direct an adaptation of PK Dick's The Man In The High Castle. Man, 2012 is really shaping up to be a great year!

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bkimball
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#6 Post by bkimball » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:54 pm

carax09 wrote:Oh, that's terrific news! The novel is a police procedural (complete with world weary detective seeking redemption) within this wonderfully inventive alternative reality. This is almost like if Ridley Scott decided to direct an adaptation of PK Dick's The Man In The High Castle. Man, 2012 is really shaping up to be a great year!
Is the book by David Storey?

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carax09
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#7 Post by carax09 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:02 pm

bkimball wrote:
carax09 wrote:Oh, that's terrific news! The novel is a police procedural (complete with world weary detective seeking redemption) within this wonderfully inventive alternative reality. This is almost like if Ridley Scott decided to direct an adaptation of PK Dick's The Man In The High Castle. Man, 2012 is really shaping up to be a great year!
Is the book by David Storey?
Uhh....wha? The book was written by Michael Chabon. Isn't Storey the gentleman who wrote This Sporting Life? Perhaps I'm being dense, but just not seeing the connection...

I didn't mean to be sour grapes about how long it's going to take before this comes to fruition, it's just that Burn After Reading and A Serious Man seem like they might be kind of light and throwaway by comparison. I hope I'm wrong.

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#8 Post by bkimball » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:40 pm

Sorry, I was speaking about A Serious Man. :oops:

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carax09
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#9 Post by carax09 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:19 am

Don't worry about it! You're the one staying on topic, while I fly off on tangents...

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#10 Post by Zumpano » Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:48 am

A Serious Man will be seriously Jewish. Set in 1967 and located within the town's Jewish community, it focuses on a college professor seeking advice from several rabbis while in the throes of domestic and
professional crises
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that description sounds very "light" or "throwaway". I haven't read the book (maybe you have), but this sounds like it could be the basis of their most serious movie yet? Certainly more so than the Chabon adaptation...

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carax09
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#11 Post by carax09 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:33 pm

You may very well be right, but the little Focus Features blurb that I read described it as a "dark comedy" with plot details "under wraps". Admittedly, it's not much to go on, but it makes me think the brothers plan on punching-up the humor of the Storey novel. The article that Jeff quoted, referred to A Serious Man as a "mere taster" to the Chabon adaptation, which I guess was what was reinforcing this as something lightweight.

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A Serious Man (Coen Brothers, 200?)

#12 Post by AWA » Sun May 04, 2008 4:26 pm

I was lucky enough to land a copy of the script of the next Coen Brothers film, "A Serious Man", which is lined up to be filmed later this year (and released presumably next year as the follow up release to "Burn After Reading"... all this barring a SAG strike in June, of course). Their work ethic is beginning to rival that of Woody Allen with numerous projects all lined up and their output getting to be more of an annual thing rather than every other year or two.

At any rate, the script is pretty good, quite funny and, even though I'm a little biased about this, but it feels, especially in the first half, to be influenced by Charlie Kaufman. The similarities between this script and Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" are many and the Coens seem to have transplanted the whole Kaufman-esque bit about bizarre, baffling relations with other people that is so apparent in "Synecdoche" and "Being John Malkovich".

One drawback for me personally was that you really need to know a pretty broad understanding of the Jewish religion to understand a lot of the content here - I had to read the script with Wikipedia open to try and figure out what they were talking about. I learned what a "goy" is, for example and you definitely need to learn what a "dybbuk" is to get the beginning of the film and, I think at least, the end.

The ending is pretty baffling, but that might be because of my misunderstanding of some of the Jewish stuff leading up to that.

Film takes place in the late 60's in Minnesota, and is supposedly partially based around their own upbringing. Lots of Jefferson Airplane music. Pretty funny though... comparable to the tone / humor of Big Lebowski or Barton Fink.

Only casting at the moment listed on IMDBPro is Woody Allen bit-part veteran Fred Melamed as Sy Ableman.

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#13 Post by hot_locket » Wed May 07, 2008 2:16 am

Sounds excellent. This and BAR make me An Excited Man.

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Jeff
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#14 Post by Jeff » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:17 pm

Who would have pegged Richard Kind for the lead in the next Coen film?
[i][url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117990745.html?categoryid=13&cs=1]Variety[/url][/i] wrote:The Coen brothers have tapped a pair of relative unknowns to star in their next pic, "A Serious Man."

Michael Stuhlbarg, a Tony-nominated actor with little experience in front of the cameras, and Richard Kind, a character actor best known for his role on ABC's "Spin City," will star as brothers in the period black comedy.

Set in 1967, story centers on Larry Gopnik (Stuhlbarg), a Midwestern professor whose life begins to unravel when his wife sets out to leave him and his socially inept brother (Kind) won't move out of the house.

Shooting is set to start at the beginning of next month in Minneapolis.

Working Title is producing, and Focus Features will distribute.

Joel and Ethan Coen, whose George Clooney-Brad Pitt starrer "Burn After Reading" will open next month, penned the screenplay for "A Serious Man" and are sharing producing duties. Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner exec produce.

Stuhlbarg, who has made guest appearances on "Law & Order" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," was nominated for a Tony for his role in "The Pillowman" and starred in the title role of this summer's Shakespeare in the Park production of "Hamlet."

He is repped by manager Lisa Loosemoore.

Kind's credits include "For Your Consideration," "The Station Agent" and "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" and the TV series "Mad About You."

He is repped by Innovative Artists and manager Arlene Forster.

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#15 Post by hot_locket » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:39 pm

That role sounds pretty much right up Kind's alley.

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#16 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:45 pm

Anyone know if that Western they were talking about is still on deck for them?

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#17 Post by Banana #3 » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:21 pm

The Kind character is not really the lead or co-lead. I'm not sure why they labeled him as such.

Though it's nearly an ensemble, Stuhlberg's character is definitely the real lead and Kind is one of Stuhlberg's main distractions.

I'd doubt they do the Western. In the past they've mentioned dozens of movies that are just ideas or never get made.

On the website youknow-forkids.com, the webmaster refers to some documentary on TV or I-don't-know-what where they have a shot inside the Coens' office and there's a bookshelf full of unproduced screenplays.

The brothers themselves admit that they sometimes write screenplays just as an intellectual exercise. That's from one of their Charlie Rose interviews.

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#18 Post by Matt » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:37 am

My co-worker's brother just got cast in a speaking role in this.

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#19 Post by chaddoli » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:07 am

Banana #3 wrote:The brothers themselves admit that they sometimes write screenplays just as an intellectual exercise. That's from one of their Charlie Rose interviews.
Ethan Coen's book Gates of Eden reads like an assembly of (excellent) unfinished screenplay ideas.

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Re: A Serious Man (Coen Brothers, 2009)

#20 Post by Antoine Doinel » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:59 pm

Filming has wrapped.

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Re: A Serious Man (Coen Brothers, 2009)

#21 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:29 am


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Re: A Serious Man (Coen Brothers, 2009)

#22 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:44 am

This is a great trailer.

But then again, Burn After Reading had a great trailer, and that ended up being awful. So who knows.

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Re: A Serious Man (Coen Brothers, 2009)

#23 Post by rs98762001 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:02 pm

In typical Coen Bros fashion, I have come to love Burn After Reading after initially hating it. Damn you, HBO for showing it thirty times a day, and making me realize how much I first underappreciated it.

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Re: A Serious Man (Coen Brothers, 2009)

#24 Post by Finch » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:15 pm

Not a bad trailer actually but as a Coen fan I'm going to see any new film of theirs irrespective of how good or awful the trailer is: they've had their fair share of disappointments (to see them churning out near stinkers like Intolerable Cruelty and Ladykillers in succession was painful) but for every miss like their last film, they knock equally as many out of the park (my personal votes go to Miller's Crossing, The Man Who Wasn't There and The Big Lebowski - parts of Fargo and No Country For Old Men are also great).

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Re: A Serious Man (Coen Brothers, 2009)

#25 Post by knives » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:31 pm

That looks like Barton Fink. Can't think of a better compliment. Can't wait until October. Anyone else reminded of Eugene Levy with the main guy?

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