Oscar Isaac Discovers New Guitar Skill From Inside Llewyn Davis

Oscar Isaac has adopted a new style of guitar playing in his music after having to learn the skill for his new film Inside Llewyn Davis.

ContactMusic.com — The former punk star portrays the title character in the Coen Brothers’ upcoming movie, about a struggling folk singer trying to make it in 1960s’ New York, and his preparation for the acting job has come in handy for his own stage career.

He tells New York magazine, “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.”

Inside Llewyn Davis: A Coen Brothers Odyssey

HuffingtonPost.com — Pity the poor musician, down on his luck. Nothing is going right. He has no place to sleep, no money in his pocket, his worldly possessions reduced to a box of unsold albums. His musical partner jumped off a bridge, and his friend’s wife, who is also his lover, is now pregnant and wants him to pay for an abortion just in case the kid is his. And the crowning blow, he’s lost the cat of his only reliable benefactors.

Yes, it’s a hard road for most musicians, but if taken with the Coen Bothers, bound to be entertaining. Their new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, launches us once more onto the breach of a tumultuous journey, in some ways reminiscent of their Ulysses saga, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? But this time it’s through the world of the beat poets and musicians of the early 1960s.

Loosely based on Dave Van Ronk’s memoir The Mayor of MacDougal StreetInside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Prix at Cannes. Set in Greenwich Village in 1961, the film portrays the folk music scene before Bob Dylan arrived, when the music was from all over America and the musicians were from Brooklyn.

Oscar Isaac plays the talented and mercurial Llewyn Davis. With his dark eyes and sensuous mouth, he’s perfectly cast as the beat musician who vacillates between brooding self-absorption and natural sympathy. His duel background as actor and musician make him a shoe-in for the role: Isaac played in bands before going to Julliard’s theatre school, where he graduated in 2005. His pitch-perfect tone carries throughout, whether strumming songs or negotiating abortions.

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The Coen Brothers’ Folk Hero: Oscar Isaac

NYMag.com — In Inside Llewyn Davis, by Joel and Ethan Coen, Oscar Isaac is Davis: a folk singer stalking through sixties Greenwich Village with a black cloud perpetually overhead (the character is based loosely on Dave Van Ronk, the “Mayor of Macdougal Street”). For Isaac, 33, who co-stars with Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake, the role should be transformative.

What did the Coen brothers see in you? 
One thing they said was, “This guy can play, he’s a good actor, and he’s not a square.” [Laughs.] A month went by after my audition, and I got a phone call from Joel. He talked for way too long without saying whether I’d gotten the part. It was ten minutes before he finally said, “You know, we’d love for you to do it.”

Llewyn rails against inauthentic folk artists, but we see him jumping to take a money gig, too. Could you relate? 
I’ve tried to maintain some sense of taste with what I do, but listen: When I was at University of Miami, I played a role called Officer Fartman.

Did that involve passing a lot of gas? 
It didn’t! It was a complete non sequitur. That’s how bad it was.

You grew up playing in punk bands. Good training for Hollywood? 
It definitely thickened my skin. I remember at one gig, I decided to play this really sensitive song. I was like, “Trust me, guys, the hard part comes later … but the soft part will be really good, too!” In 30 seconds, people were throwing lighters at my face.

You’re in a band called NightLab. Has folk music crept into your work? 
I haven’t been able to escape it! 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.

The Coen Brothers on ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ at Telluride

TheDailyBeast.com The Coen Brothers’ latest film, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ chronicles a singer-songwriter struggling to navigate the early ‘60s Greenwich Village folk scene. And it’s amazing.

The Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis provides an exquisitely rendered portrait of the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, viewed through the eyes of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac)—a couch-surfing singer-songwriter who, when he’s not picking and crooning, uses the bulk of his spare cash to pay for various women’s abortions. One of these women is Jean Berkey (Carey Mulligan) who, along with Llewyn’s milquetoast pal, Jim (Justin Timberlake), make up a schlocky folk duo.

Indeed, Llewyn is a fuck up in every sense—the type of person whose incredible talent is overwhelmed by his combative personality. He doesn’t speak to his merchant-marine father, has run afoul of his sister, and has clearly shit the bed with the Berkey’s, where he usually crashes. His last friend in the world is Mitch Gorfein, an academic living on the Upper West Side—that is, until he accidentally makes off with the family cat. Llewyn used to be in a singing duo that went by the stage name Tiplin & Davis, but his partner, Mike, committed suicide. Now, since his debut solo album has failed to catch on, he barely scrapes by performing gigs at the Gaslight Café in Greenwich Village.

With nowhere left to turn and only 200 bucks to his name, Llewyn embarks on a road trip to Chicago with two oddball travel companions, played by John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund, with the hope of winning over music manager Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham), and defibrillating his musical career.

The film marks the 16th feature by the directing duo of Joel and Ethan Coen—or the Coen brothers—and is loosely based on the life of former folk musician Dave Van Ronk. It’s a low-key affair boasting stellar acting; eye-catching lensing by Jean-Pierre Jeunet collaborator Bruno Delbonnel; wonderful music, courtesy of producers T-Bone Burnett, who’d previously collaborated with the Cohen’s on O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and Marcus Mumford, of Mumford & Sons fame; and the duo’s signature brand of dark humor. It’s like Fargo, if you replace the killing with strumming. The biggest surprise here, though, is Isaac, who fully embodies the tormented Llewyn. Even though the character is a complete pain in the ass, you root for him to succeed, which is a testament to Isaac’s mesmerizing performance. The actor even performed all the songs he plays in the film in real time.

In a post-screening Q&A following the film’s showing at the Telluride Film Festival, the Coen brothers, Isaac, and Burnett discussed their folk-music movie gem, which will be released by CBS Films on Dec. 6. Below are some highlights.

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Oscar Isaac and the Punch Brothers perform ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ music at Telluride

HiFlix.com — TELLURIDE, Colo. – CBS Films helped the 40th annual Telluride Film Festival get off to a musical start by bringing in the Punch Brothers to perform at an opening night concert Wednesday night. Chris Thile and his band appear on the soundtrack to the Coen brothers’ upcoming “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and they played some bluegrass favorites to a nice crowd in the town park.

The film stars Oscar Isaac as a folk singer in 1960s New York. Isaac joined the band for a rendition of “Fare Thee Well (aka Dink’s Song).” (He starts at 2:45) The film made its debut earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival. Read our review here. It also stars Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” will have its North American premiere tonight at the Telluride Film Festival. It opens in the U.S. December 6.

Oscar Isaac screencaps in Drive

I’ve added 260 HD screencaps of Oscar Isaac in Drive. You can check out the thumbnails below!

A mysterious man who has multiple jobs as a garage mechanic, a Hollywood stuntman and a getaway driver seems to be trying to escape his shady past as he falls for his neighbor – whose husband is in prison and who’s looking after her child alone. Meanwhile, his garage mechanic boss is trying to set up a race team using gangland money, which implicates our driver as he is to be used as the race team’s main driver. Our hero gets more than he bargained for when he meets the man who is married to the woman he loves.

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‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Trailer: Oscar Isaac Gets Folksy in Coen Brothers Film

The theatrical trailer for “Inside Llewyn Davis” has released, many thanks to Oscar on his official Facebook page for sharing it! You can watch it below! I’ll be adding HD screencaps of all trailers tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Moviefone.com — It appears audiences might finally get to hear lead Oscar Isaac sing in the newest trailer for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” but brothers Joel and Ethan Coen know better than to reveal all their secrets before the film makes its official theatrical debut.

Instead, we get some familiar scenes featuring Isaac (who plays the titular folk singer) and his unlikely paramour (a fellow folk singer played by Carey Mulligan), as well as some expanded dialogue between Davis and John Goodman, where Davis reveals his former singing partner threw himself off the George Washington Bridge. We also see Davis beg a record company exec for royalties because he can’t afford to buy a winter coat, giving some heft to his struggling musician storyline.

The gorgeous cover of folk staple “Fare Thee Well” that soundtracked the last trailer is back again, and it’s when it ends that it seems Isaac is ready for his close-up. The owner of a club where Davis wants to gig implores him to play something from “Inside Llewyn Davis,” his record. The clip cuts off just as Davis gets ready to open his mouth.

Those dying to hear his voice can finally have a listen when the film’s soundtrack drops September 6. “Inside Llewyn Davis” hits theaters December 6.

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