John Goodman on ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’: ‘We Are Pretty Serious About Our Damn Comedy’

New York Film Festival screens Coen Brothers' pic

The second night of the 51st annual New York Film Festival meant a Saturday night out with the Coen brothers…sort of.

While the cast of the duo’s latest comedy-drama, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” including Oscar Isaac, Carey MulliganJohn Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and F. Murray Abraham leisurely walked the red carpet just before the Sept. 28 screening at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the people everyone wanted to speak to – Joel and Ethan Coen – quickly had their photos snapped before making a run for the VIP room.

In the quiet, safe confines of the bar area, Ethan Coen said he was excited to be back at NYFF, a festival which has premiered the brothers’ films for the last two decades including “Miller’s Crossing” and “No Country For Old Men.”

“This (film) is a New York story, so it’s kind of great that we are here,” Ethan said.

In terms of working with lenser Bruno Delbonnel, who was pinch hitting for usual Coen d.p. Roger Deakins, Ethan revealed that the cinematographer swap wasn’t difficult.

“They are different people. One is more French,” Coen joked. “But in terms of comfort level, it was totally easy working with Bruno just like it is Roger.”

Longtime collaborator John Goodman also found the set easy to deal with.  “(The Coens) know what I’m capable of and not capable of,” he said.

“We are pretty serious about our damn comedy,” Goodman said. The thesp delivers some of the best lines in the film. “Although I can hear Ethan every one in a while laughing, so that is always great,” he said. “When I hear that I try to make him laugh more and the work goes out the window.”

T Bone Burnett, who produced the film’s soundtrack, admitted that he greenlit the lead: pic’s star Oscar Isaac.  “He had to be able act this incredibly difficult part of a guy who is a very unsympathetic character that you have to learn to love somehow,” Burnett said. “He also had to be able to sing this incredibly complicated music while playing a very hard guitar part …live. Miraculously we found Oscar. Once we found him, the film was in the bag.”

While there was no ritzy after-party following the screening, a concert will be staged tonight at New York’s Town Hall, with proceeds benefiting the National Recording Preservation Foundation. Isaac, with fellow stars Mulligan, Goodman and Stark Sands, will perform, along with Marcus Mumford and guests Joan Baez, Patti Smith and Jack White, among others.

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