Films

20 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About No Country For Old Men


We don't know about you, but in our lives pairing up with a sibling for even the most trivial of tasks is usually the fastest way to an argument. Doubles tennis partners being an absolute no-no.

Fair play then to Joel and Ethan Coen who, if Josh Brolin is to be believed (and there's no reason why we should question him!) didn't argue once on the set of the 2007 classic.

Here, we doff our collective cowboy hats to the 2007 Best Picture Oscar winner by presenting you with 20 things you (probably) didn't know about it. Hug your brother...

(Images: Rex/Youtube)

  • 20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About No Country For Old Men

    1.

    The film was shot mostly in Vegas, but Tommy Lee Jones convinced the Coens to film some scenes on location in Texas. While there, in Marfa to be specific, There Will Be Blood was being shot nearby. One day, Paul Thomas Anderson (director of TWBB) and his crew tested the pyrotechnical effects of an oil fire, causing an enormous amount of smoke to intrude on the No Country set. They had to delay filming a day to allow the smoke to dissipate. Both films would eventually become the leading contenders at the Oscars, a year and a half later.

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    2.

    It's well known that Heath Ledger turned down the role of Moss. It's less well known that Mark Strong (pictured) auditioned for the role of Chigurh and got to the last two.

    Garret Dillahunt auditioned five times for the role of Moss before ending up in the role of Wendell. Tiffany Dupont reportedly auditioned for the role of Carla Jean.

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    3.

    Josh Brolin broke his shoulder in a motorcycle accident two days after winning the part in this film. In an interview he said that he remembered thinking, as he flew over the car that hit him, "Fucking shit! I really wanted to work with the Coens." In spite of that, his injury didn't hamper his role in the film as the character he played was shot in the shoulder very early on.

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    4.

    Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino filmed and directed Brolin's first audition for the movie on a Panavision Genesis camera during a lunch break on the set of Grindhouse. According to Brolin, the Coens' only response to the audition tape was, "Who lit it?" (in a good way). Marley Shelton (pictured) played Carla Jean in the audition.

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    5.

    The three main characters, Moss, Bell, and Chigurh, do not share any screen time together. Despite receiving top billing, Tommy Lee Jones has the least screen time of the three.

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    6.

    A nail gun was used for the sound effect of Chigurh's cattle gun.

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    7.

    The title is part of the first line from a poem by William Butler Yeats (pictured) called "Sailing to Byzantium". It starts:

    That is no country for old men. The young /

    In one another's arms, birds in the trees /

    Those dying generations - at their song, /

    The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas, /

    Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long /

    The poem describes the metaphorical journey of a man pursuing his own vision of eternal life as well as his conception of paradise. Make of that what you will!

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    8.

    Tommy Lee Jones has said that the movie is both a horror and a comedy. Kelly Macdonald says it's simply a Coen Bothers film and that they are their own genre and Ethan Coen said it's as close as they'll ever come to an action movie.

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    9.

    The Coen's wanted Chigurh to be "completely unplaceable, both ethnically and nationally."

    Bardem pretty much nailed that, then.

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    10.

    When considering the role Tommy Lee Jones was somewhat concerned about the number of Texan law-enforcement officers he's played and the danger of being typecast, but found the lure of a Cormac McCarthy / Coen Brothers part too great.

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    11.

    In the DVD extras Josh Brolin says with a smile: "Tommy Lee jones is from San Saba County. That's where Llewelyn Moss is from. He couldn't help but remind me of that many, many, many many times."

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    12.

    Joel Coen was initially very skeptical about casting Glaswegian Kelly Macdonald as a Texan woman. Needless to say he was thrilled with her performance.

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    13.

    When Moss is lying hurt on the floor, after crossing the border, a mariachi group starts singing to him. Translated they sing: "You wanted to fly without wings, you wanted to touch the sky, you wanted too much wealth, you wanted to play with fire", a likely nod to exactly what has happened in the run up to this moment.

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    14.

    The border with Mexico was built from scratch, painstakingly recreated to look exactly how it would have looked in 1980.

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    15.

    Moss and Bell both wear straw cowboy hats because the movie is set in summer, when Texans switch to cooler headwear.

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    16.

    Chigurh's boots were made specifically for the film. Mary Zophres, costume designer, had them made out of alligator and wanted the to look "bumpy and pointy and gross and to look like they could kill someone," to reflect Chigurh's rather disconcerting character.

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    17.

    The Coen's wanted the opening scene murder to be the most brutal of the movie. It created difficulties because handcuffs can cause incredible amounts of pain in action scenes, so a harness was attached to the Deputy (Zach Hopkins) running right up his back and the handcuffs were attached to the harness. Prosthetics were then placed around that.

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    18.

    The swimming pool scene where Moss chats to the sunbathing woman isn't in the book. It's an alternate scene, rather than an added one. It takes the place of a moment in the book where Moss talks to the girl who hitchhikes with him on the road to el Paso.

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    19.

    The silencer on Chigurh's shotgun was specially made for the movie. Such a device didn't exist. Critics - and they're being a little picky for our tastes - say it is much too small and short to have a distinctive effect on the sound of the shotgun's blast.

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    20.

    The body count is 22.