At the beginning of April, we heard that Ethan Coen (of “the Coen brothers” fame) was making his own solo movie, his very first after a very long and successful career collaborating with his brother (who made his own debut solo movie last year with The Tragedy Of Macbeth). Now, Ethan Coen’s solo movie—a documentary called Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble In Mind—is premiering at Cannes, seemingly solidifying his new status as a single solitary filmmaker who doesn’t need his brother around.
Though, based on an interview that Coen gave with Deadline, it doesn’t sound like he’d 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 excusing it (he notes that Lewis was “the original canceled person,” but he touches on his relationship with his brother at the end when talking about what it was like editing the film without him.
Instead, he worked with editor Tricia Cooke, his wife, which he simply says is “different than doing it with Joel.” He told Deadline that there were “many times” where problems popped up and he got “stuck,” saying, “I’d think, ‘Joel would have an idea what to do here,’ so, where the fuck is he?” Coen says that he and Cooke have “another one going,” but he thinks “something will come along” for him and his brother. “It’s kind of great, not having a plan,” he said, “and so that plan doesn’t preclude anything.”
Coen also hinted at a potential reason for his split from his brother, saying that they’d always be finishing one movie and thinking about this next one immediately, but now they’re both “more relaxed” and are happier to “take whatever comes.” So he seems very confident that he and his brother will ride together again someday.