When it comes to the best films of 2007, it’s difficult to leave out Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and the Coen brothers’ No Country For Old Men. But did you know Paul Thomas Anderson’s special effects shut down the Coen brother’s shooting day?
Due to a large black cloud of smoke drifting into view, production on “No Country For Old Men” was halted for a day. The smoke was coming from a pyrotechnics test on the set of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” which was filming in the same town of Marfa, Texas, at the same time.
Choosing the Spot for Movie Set
No Country for Old Men, based on Cormac McCarthy’s eponymous novel, effortlessly adapts McCarthy’s bleak and darkly humorous vision to the big screen. Joel Coen revealed in an interview:
We didn’t actually pick it. It was sent to us by Scott Rudin who had acquired the rights to it, he sent it to us in galleys about a year before it came out. He asked us if we were interested in doing it and we read it and both, we’d read other Cormac McCarthy books just for pleasure and liked him a lot, but this one we thought was, could make a really interesting movie.Joel Coen, Director, and Producer
While many scenes were shot in Las Vegas and passed off as Eagle Pass and Del Rio, Texas locations, Tommy Lee Jones advised the Coen brothers to consider shooting in Texas. The crew was taken to various locations in New Mexico and Texas during the production process, which was brilliantly utilized by cinematographer Roger Deakins.
In No Country, there’s maybe only a dozen shots that are not in the final film. It’s that order of planning. And we only shot 250,000 feet, whereas most productions of that size might shoot 700,000 or a million feet of film. It’s quite precise, the way they approach everything. We never use a zoom, I don’t even carry a zoom lens with me, unless it’s for something very specificRoger Deakins, Cinematographer for No Country for Old Men
(Source: Farout Magazine)
Two Great Movies, Same Location
Two worlds collided on the set of one such location in Marfa, Texas. In addition to the Coen brothers’ project, American filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson was working on his magnum opus, There Will Be Blood, which has been dubbed the Citizen Kane of our time by many critics. There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as an ambitious oil magnate who will go to any length to get what he wants, is a scathing indictment of the American Dream.
Both productions were halted when Anderson conducted a massive pyrotechnical test that went disastrously wrong. The smoke from the failed experiment permeated the set of No Country for Old Men, forcing the crew to take a day off until everything was cleared out. It proved to be a minor but memorable hiccup in the production processes of two of the best films of the twenty-first century. (Source: Farout Magazine)
Image from The Ringer