Coen Brothers Planning Musical Biopic?
Heading to 60s Greenwich Village...
Not so long ago, The Playlist picked up word from Joel and Ethan Coen that the brothers' next project would be "a movie that has quite a bit of music in it". The LA Times has now picked up some more intel, suggesting that the film will see the Coens tackling the life story of American folk music guru Dave Van Ronk.
Specifically, it seems the film will focus on the time in Van Ronk's life when he was an elder statesman to the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960s. An accomplished blues guitarist and left-wing political activist, he was a mentor to many of the musicians that gravitated to the coffee-shop culture from which emerged the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell.
He was nicknamed The Mayor of McDougal Street, after the village's central strip, and he used the moniker for his memoir of the scene, published posthumously in 2005 (he died in 2002).
He was described by one commentator as "a walking museum of the blues", which in some ways suggests a spiritual connection to O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Joel Coen told an audience at The Lincoln Centre that the film's music will be "pretty much all performed live, on a single instrument", and compared it stylistically to Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding (Baumbach happened to be the brothers' on-stage interviewer at the time).
The Times' source is an unnamed someone "briefed on the project" however, and the film is believed to be only "loosely based" on Van Ronk. So predictably, there are plenty of details yet to emerge. You didn't expect anything straightforward, did you?