Ethan Coen has revealed his reasons for temporarily stepping away from movie-making. With his brother Joel Coen, Ethan has directed 18 movies, with one solo directing credit for the upcoming documentary Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind.
“Oh, nothing happened, certainly nothing dramatic,” Ethan told the Associated Press (opens in new tab) of why he stopped wanting to make films. “You start out when you’re a kid and you want to make a movie. Everything’s enthusiasm and gung-ho, let’s go make a movie. And the first movie is just loads of fun. And then the second movie is loads of fun, almost as much fun as the first. And after 30 years, not that it’s no fun, but it’s more of a job than it had been.
“Joel kind of felt the same way but not to the extent that I did. It’s an inevitable by-product of aging. And the last two movies we made, me and Joel together, were really difficult in terms of production. I mean, really difficult. So if you don’t have to do it, you go at a certain point: Why am I doing this?”
He added: “It was the production experience and having been doing it for – I don’t know how many years, maybe 35 years. It was the experience of making a movie. More of a grind and less fun.”
But, Ethan is making another film with his wife Tricia Cooke this year, and he put that decision down to “all kind of circumstance,” explaining that the script was finished and he and Cooke thought it would be “fun” to make.
As for Joel, he recently helmed The Tragedy of Macbeth, starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand – and Ethan didn’t rule out another collaboration, either, saying they “might make another movie.”
Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind arrives this year after premiering at Cannes Film Festival. In the meantime, check out our roundup of 2022’s major movie release dates for everything else the year has in store for us.