Roger Deakins Told the Coen Brothers He’d Stop Talking to Them If They Didn’t Direct ‘No Country for Old Men’ – IndieWire

If Roger Deakins wins his third Oscar at the 95th Academy Awards tomorrow night, nominated for his work on “Empire of Light,” it will simply be the latest achievement in one of the most incredible careers in film history. Over the past 40 years, he has earned 16 Academy Award nominations while working with many of Hollywood’s greatest directors, including frequent collaborations with the Coen Brothers, Sam Mendes and Denis Villeneuve.

In a new interview with GQ, Deakins looked back on his sprawling filmography while sharing behind-the-scenes stories from some of his best-known works. When the Coen Brothers’ Oscar-winning Cormac McCarthy adaptation “No Country for Old Men” came out, Deakins revealed that he played an even bigger role in the film than he’s given credit for. In addition to serving as the Coens’ director of photography, he was also one of the reasons they decided to direct the film.

Deakins explained that the Coens were only attached to the project as screenwriters at first, and considered handing the film off to someone else. But after reading McCarthy’s novel, Deakins launched a full-court press to ensure his longtime friends and collaborators directed it.

“Joel said we’re doing this script, ‘No Country for Old Men.’ I had just read the book, so I said ‘aren’t you going to direct?’ And he said: ‘Well, we can do that.’ I said ‘I’ll never talk to you again if you don’t direct it’.

Deakins went on to reminisce about Joel and Ethan Coen’s obsessive preparation for the film, recalling being impressed by how clearly they were able to articulate their vision for the finished film early in the process.

“The thing about Joel and Ethan is that they love to get into different kinds of worlds. They kind of just move around different genres in a very interesting way. But they’re very prepared, they spend a lot of time talking about it, do drawings, do storyboards, study locations,” he said. “One of the things early on that Joel and Ethan said when we were shooting was ‘just be aware, we’re not going to have any music on it.’ They knew right from the start, long before we started shooting, that the only sound would be natural sound.”

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