Follow a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles — some of them of his own making.
Oscar Isaac as LLewyn Davis
- 104 minutes – Music | Drama
- Release Date: 10 January 2014 (USA)
- Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Stark Sands
Quotes about the movie/casting:
- “For the movie, I had to learn this way of playing guitar called ‘Travis picking’, where your thumb is like the metronome, and you’re playing the bass line and the melody at the same time. It’s this very tricky, syncopated style of playing, and once I locked in to it, I haven’t been able to get out.” – Oscar Isaac
- “I said: I have to get a shot at this movie [Inside Llewyn Davis] because I feel like my 33 years of life have been preparing me to do something like this.” – Oscar Isaac
- “Why this movie [Inside Llewyn Davis] is so personal — I think to all of us — is because of the recognition that it just as easily can go the other way. There’s very few geniuses that are shooting across the sky like Shakespeare or Dylan. The rest of us, it’s like you have to work and be talented, but you got to be lucky for a lot of this stuff to happen.” – Oscar Isaac
- “We’re all losers. They keep telling Llewyn: ‘You’re a loser, you’re a loser.’ And … well: so are you. You’re gonna die too, man.” – Oscar Isaac
- “The irony hasn’t been lost on me. Being celebrated for playing someone who wasn’t. Llewyn is like the Jesus character who had to be sacrificed for our sins. I get quite emotional about it. It’s hard not sounding like a douchebag because it’s like: ‘Oh, I’ve been so successful for those poor people that haven’t.’ But I know those people; it could have easily just gone the other way for me too. There’s very few people – like Shakespeare – who, no matter what, were gonna do what they did. For the rest of us there’s a lot of events that have to happen in order for things to end up the way they are. The celebration of that can allow me to relax in all of this.” – Oscar Isaac
Quotes from the movie:
- Llewyn Davis: If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song.
- Llewyn Davis: Au revoir!
- Llewyn Davis: I lost their fucking cat, I feel bad about it.
Jean: That’s what you feel bad about?
- Llewyn Davis: [talking to the cat] What’s your name again?
Llewyn Davis: [the cat escapes from him, through the window] Oh shit. No, no! Oh. Fuck, goddamnit, oh shit!
- Llewyn Davis: She doesn’t have to leave, I’m leaving, obviously.
- Jean: I’m sad? You’re the one who’s not going anywhere. You don’t wanna get anywhere. Me and Jim try.
Llewyn Davis: I wanna…
Jean: We try, you sleep on the couch!
Llewyn Davis: It’s a bad thing to throw on my face, you know that?
- Llewyn Davis is a fictional character, not based on the life of Dave Van Ronk. However, the creative spark for making this movie came from Van Ronk’s memoir “The Mayor of MacDougal Street”. The film looks at the Greenwich Village music scene in and around the real-life clubs Gaslight Cafe and Gerde’s Folk City.
- After Oscar Isaac’s first meeting with T-Bone Burnett, advisor/composer/musician Burnett put on a Tom Waits record and simply left the room for an hour. “That was the first lesson.” Isaac said. “It was a real Mr. Miyagi moment.”
- The Coens’ usual choice for cinematographer, Roger Deakins, was unavailable as he was busy shooting Skyfall (2012). Meanwhile, Bruno Delbonnel, who is French, stepped in to take the position, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography, his fourth nomination in 13 years. Deakins, who is British, had been nominated 10 times for Oscars, five of those films for the Coens.
- The “Inside Llewyn Davis” album cover is based on the cover of the album “Inside Dave van Ronk”.
- Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers auditioned for the lead role of Llewyn Davis.
- Oscar Isaac actually strongly dislikes cats; he once received an infection from a cat bite.
- This film marks the second time Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan have played opposite each other. The first was in Drive (2011) where they played a husband and wife.
- Llewyn finds out at the end that the cat which escaped and found its way back home is called ‘Ulysses’. Ulysses is the Latin form of ‘Odysseus’, a hero from Greek mythology who embarked on a journey and found his way home many years later, against incredible odds.