After spending a year with "No Country for Old Men," a serious, gut-wrenching drama that won nearly every conceivable award on the planet, you'd perhaps forgive the Coen brothers if they looked for a little escapism in their follow-up features, "Burn After Reading" and "Suburbicon."
Forget escapism, laughed several "Burn" co-stars: The Coens have finally gone off the friggin' deep end.
"I don't even understand what it is," star George Clooney chuckled of the "Burn" plot. "We have no idea what we've done. The only thing I feel confident about is, as bad and goofy and dim as I am in the movie, [Brad] Pitt might be dimmer. And that makes me know I have a little cover."
"I'm surrounded by buffoons!" co-star Tilda Swinton echoed of the all-star cast, which also includes Frances McDormand and John Malkovich. "It's insane."
"Burn After Reading" centers on two gym employees who wind up with a disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent and their hilarious attempts to sell it.
"I'm married to John Malkovich and I'm having an affair with George Clooney, and I'm really angry about everything," Swinton said of the flick.
And those tidbits about "Burn" are a veritable treasure trove of information compared to what we know about "Suburbicon."
"There's nothing to explain what it is except it's a Coen brothers film — so it's insane," Clooney said of the mysterious project. "[In the movie], I get clubbed to death with a tire iron. It made me laugh."
When news leaked online that the Coens were handing "Suburbicon" over to Clooney to direct, it felt strange. Many wondered why they just wouldn't direct it themselves.
Apparently, so did the Coens, laughed Clooney.
"No, no, I wanted to do that, [but] I haven't stolen that one away from them yet. I think they are going to do it," Clooney said of "Suburbicon." "I think they are going to direct it, but I love that project. I have a part in it that I would love to play."
What is it? Who knows! But to focus on either story is to miss the point, the cast insisted, calling the movies, especially "Burn," free-wheeling comedies very much in the vein of "The Big Lebowski."
How free-wheeling? Would you believe that for character inspiration, Swinton looked toward ... "The Simpsons"?
"I look like Mrs. Krabappel in 'The Simpsons,' " she laughed about her appearance in "Burn." "I have this Krabappel hairdo."
And it will make you laugh out loud, enthused "No Country for Old Men" star Josh Brolin, who confessed to stealing a few peeks at the film while on the set of his own Coen film.
"I saw the first maybe seven minutes with Malkovich, who is so f---ing funny in this movie. It's unbelievable how funny he is," Brolin gushed. "The barely contained rage and the sh-- being thrown at him, it's pretty much the funniest stuff I've ever seen."
"Burn After Reading" opens September 12.
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