Ethan CoenPhoto: Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images for RFF
In early April we heard that Ethan Coen (of “the Coen brothers” fame) was directing his own solo film, his first ever in a very long and successful career working with his brother (who made his own debut solo film last year with The Tragedy Of Macbeth). Now Ethan Coen’s solo film – a documentary titled Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble In Mind – is premiering in Cannes, seemingly cementing his newfound status as a single filmmaker who doesn’t need his brother around.
However, based on an interview Coen gave with Deadline, it doesn’t sound like he doesn’t mind having his brother around. Most of the interview is based around the fact that Jerry Lee Lewis married his teenage cousin, which Coen tries to at least contextualize without necessarily apologizing (he notes that Lewis was “the person originally canceled,” but he touches on his relationship with his brother at the end when he talks about what it was like to edit the film without him.
Instead, he worked with editor Tricia Cooke, his wife, who he puts simply, “is different than doing it with Joel.” He told Deadline that “a lot of times” there were issues where issues would arise and he would “get stuck,” saying, “I would think ‘Joel would have an idea what to do here,’ so where the heck is him?” Coen says he and Cooke “have another one going,” but he believes “something is coming” for him and his brother. “It’s kind of great not having a plan,” he said, “and that plan doesn’t exclude anything.”
Coen also hinted at a possible reason for his split from his brother, saying they would always finish one film and immediately think about the next, but now they’re both “more relaxed” and happier “to take whatever comes.” So he seems very confident that one day he and his brother will ride together again.