In 1990, Joel and Ethan Coen were not the Oscar-winning, cinephil-worshiped filmmaking legends they are today. They had written and directed only two films: 1984’s inventive neo-noir Just blood and 1987 Screwball Kidnapping Comedy Raising Arizona. Although the brothers had gained great recognition for both of them, they had not yet proven themselves to be the true cinematic chameleons we now know them.
With Miller’s CrossingThe Coens, an intricate gangster drama that contrasts fedoras and cloaks with the serenity of the forest, have proven they can do even more than their brilliant first two attempts would suggest. Though it was critically acclaimed, Miller̵
1. Miller’s Crossing was inspired by a single contrasting image.
One of the most memorable recordings in Miller’s Crossing shows a hat by Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne’s character) floating in the wind through the forest. It’s more than a pretty shot; It’s an indicator of the conscious contrast that inspired the film. The Coen brothers found that the film was conceived on the idea of the “incongruence of urban gangsters in a forest setting”.
2. The Coen brothers refused Batman close Miller’s Crossing.
After this Raising ArizonaThe Coens’ success was more than an indie film miracle. The brothers had a number of options as to what project to tackle next. According to reports, their success meant they were among the filmmakers who were being considered Batman For Warner Bros. Of course, the Coens ultimately opted for the less commercial route, and Tim Burton ended up telling the story of The Dark Knight on the big screen.
3. Miller’s Crossing was the last film the Coens made with Barry Sonnenfeld.
Barry Sonnenfeld became a much sought-after cameraman in the 1980s, also because of his collaboration with the Coens. Her directorial debut, Just bloodwas his first feature film as a cameraman and he shot both Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing for her. The year after Miller’s Crossing was published, Sonnenfeld made his directorial debut with The Addams familyand continued to direct more hits like Men in black and Get Shorty.
4th Miller’s Crossing was the Coens’ first collaboration with Steve Buscemi.
During their careers, the Coens have built a highly respected group of actors who appear frequently in their films, and Steve Buscemi is among the most prolific. He has appeared in six Coen films, the most famous Fargo (1996) and The great Lebowski (1998). The collaboration started here when Buscemi was cast as Mink, apparently because he could speak faster than anyone, and speaking quickly was critical to the role.
5. Miller’s Crossing was also the first Coens film with John Turturro.
When John Turturro was cast as Bernie Bernbaum, the bookmaker who ignited the mob war in the center of Miller’s CrossingIt was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with the Coens in four films. They wrote the title role of their next film in 1991 Barton Fink, specifically for Turturro (who won the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actor Award for his performance). Ethan Coen once said of the brothers’ working relationship with Turturro: “It’s not an abbreviation. We don’t even talk to him! “
6th Miller’s Crossing is one of the few Coen brothers’ films (so far) that were not edited by Roderick Jaynes.
To date, the Coen brothers have written and directed 18 feature films, 15 of which were either edited or co-edited by Roderick Jaynes. This deep collaboration would make Jaynes the most frequent Coens contributor of all time … if he were a real person. Jaynes is actually a pseudonym used when the Coens edit their own films.
7. A sudden death resulted in Albert Finney being cast as Leo O’Bannon in Miller’s Crossing.
As Irish mob leader Leo O’Bannon, Albert Finney is at the center of some of the best scenes in the film – and he’s fantastic at them. Unfortunately, he’s only in the film because another actor tragically died before filming began. The Coens originally cast American actor Trey Wilson, with whom they had worked Raising Arizonaas Leo. But when Wilson suddenly died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 40, the part went to Finney instead.
8. Peter Stormare was supposed to play a mob enforcer Miller’s Crossing.
The Coen’s original plan for Miller’s Crossing Peter Stormare played a character called “The Swede” who would be the trusted executor of Italian mob boss Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito). The engagement for a theater production in Sweden, however, meant that Stormare had to turn down the role, so the role was rewritten as “The Dane” and played by JE Freeman. Stormare eventually worked with the Coens six years later Fargoand again two years after that The great Lebowski.
9. Gabriel Byrne had to convince the Coens to keep his Irish accent Miller’s Crossing.
Although he was from Ireland and played a lieutenant in an Irish gangster, the Coens originally didn’t want Gabriel Byrne to use his own accent in the film. Byrne argued that his dialogue was structured to match his accent well, and after trying, the Coens agreed. Ultimately, both Byrne and Finney used Irish accents in the film.
10. Marcia Gay Harden faced stiff competition for her role in Miller’s Crossing.
As Verna Bernbaum, whose relationships with Leo and Tom spark some of the film’s main tensions, Marcia Gay Harden delivered one of the best performances of her career, but getting it was no easy task. She reportedly battled for the role against Julia Roberts, Demi Moore and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
11. Jon Polito had to convince the Coens to cast him in another role Miller’s Crossing.
When Polito read that Miller’s Crossing Script, he loved it and immediately wanted to audition for the role of Johnny Caspar. The Coens had different ideas and instead considered the 39-year-old actor to play Caspar’s enforcer Eddie Dane. The role of Caspar was originally supposed to go to an actor in his mid-50s, but Polito was adamant.
“Anyway, I said I’ll only read for Johnny Caspar,” Polito, who died in 206, told The AV Club. “‘And tell them to come back to me because I’m going to play Johnny.'”
The Coens eventually gave in and Polito was occupied. They must have liked what they saw too, because after that they cast him in four other films.
12. A catch in the Miller’s Crossing Script ultimately led to Barton Fink.
Miller’s Crossing is a complicated beast, full of characters who double-cross each other and seek the domination of the mobs. In fact, it’s so complicated that the Coens had to pause at some point during the writing process. It turned out to be productive: while Miller’s Crossing During the break, the brothers wrote the script for Barton Fink, the story of a writer who cannot finish a script.
13th Miller’s Crossing contains several cameos from regular Coen employees.
The Coens often include actors ‘and friends’ cameos in their films, and Miller’s Crossing is especially full of them. Frances McDormand, who is married to Joel Coen and has appeared in several of her films to date (including Fargo, for which she won an Oscar), plays the mayor’s secretary in one scene. In another case, Sam Raimi – a Coen friend and collaborator (the Coens wrote the 1985s) Crimewave with Raimi, whom Raimi directed, and Raimi, who later wrote The Hudsucker proxy with the brothers – appears as a crooked cop in a shootout. Albert Finney already had a prominent role as Leo, but he loved the movie so much that after completing his scenes he hovered around and sluggishly appeared in a ladies’ room scene. (He’s the “woman” in black on the right side of the screen.)
This story has been updated for 2020.