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Bates Motel Recap, Episode 4: "Trust Me"

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After just a handful of episodes, Bates Motel has already received the green light for season two. This is good news, because it would appear that we still have much to learn about White Pine Bay.

"What Were You Doing in That Cop's House?"

Remember that creepy moonlit stroll Norman took last week? You know, the one where he barrelled down the middle of a busy street in a trance-like state, then broke into Deputy Shelby’s house, ransacked it, found an Asian sex slave and left her there? Well, we’re treated to a new angle of the whole strange situation this week. As Norman left the Bates residence, Dylan passed him on his motorcycle. Wondering what his little brother was up to, Dylan followed Norman to Deputy Shelby’s house and watched him break in. He was also there when Shelby pulled up, so—surprisingly—Dylan did Norman a solid by creating a diversion. This is about the same time that Norman is discovering the girl down in the basement, which is where the last episode ended.

Dylan knocks on the door and pretends that his motorcycle has run out of gas. While they’re standing there discussing this fabricated problem, Shelby has one ear cocked toward the noises coming from the basement, where the girl is essentially beating the crap out of Norman, trying to get him to rescue her.

“Normally, I wouldn’t ask, but I saw the police car our front...” Dylan says, playing the “trusted member of law enforcement” card.

“I’m off duty right now,” Shelby explains, because police don’t help people when they’re not on the clock. He directs Dylan to a nearby Shell station and quickly shuts the door. Dylan rounds the corner of the house just in time to see Norman making tracks out of there. Mission accomplished.

Since he has a (well-fueled) motorcycle, Dylan beats Norman home and is waiting to ambush him about his whereabouts. Norman’s lame excuse? “I was out running.” His brother’s not buying it.

"Who do you think knocked on the front door?" Dylan asks. "What kind of trouble are you in?"

Norman continues to deny: "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm not in trouble."

“I Am Decent.”

Flashback over. Back in the present day, Norman knocks on a door of a house conveniently labeled “Decody” so we know that he’s calling on Emma. Mr. Decody answers the door.

“You’re Norman Bates,” her dad realizes. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Emma has the flu, and in her delicate condition, her father doesn’t want her to have visitors.

Then, every teenage girl’s worst nightmare happens: Her dad tells the boy she likes that she likes him. “My daughter has quite a crush on you,” Mr. Decody says. “And you seem like a nice kid. And I know you know she has a lot of problems. She’s not strong, and she’s very young. Just a regular girl in many ways. So please, be decent.”

“I am decent,” Norman responds, almost defensively.

"This Is My Son, Dylan."

Norma hops into Shelby’s Jeep; he immediately begins to grope her thigh. At first, I think she looks uncomfortable, but she doesn’t seem to have much problem with what follows: Shelby suggests they go to a motel he knows. “It’s not exactly open yet, but I happen to be personal friends with the owner,” he says. Norma says that Norman will be home from school by 4:30 p.m. Is that an excuse or just a warning not to linger? Either way, Shelby’s fine with it. “That gives us an hour,” he says. They obviously intend to make the most of that hour, because over at the motel, they’ve ripped their shirts off faster than you can say “McConaughey.”

As they bask in afterglow, Norma gives the deputy the most bizarre compliment in the history of pillow talk: “You’re awfully pretty. I don’t mean pretty like you’re handsome. I mean pretty, like, um, like, you know when you look at an old woman and you might find her very beautiful?”

He’s as perplexed as we are. A few minutes later, Norma walks out of the cabin, buttoning things up, and runs into Dylan.

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“Hello there Norma. How are those new linens working out for you?” he snarks, and then Shelby steps out of the room. As Norma introduces her lover to her son, Shelby’s mouth arranges itself into what can only be described as a smirk.  To me, it’s a “got you” look—he obviously recognizes Dylan from the “ran out of gas” incident, and Shelby has likely figured out that someone was in his house right around the time Dylan showed up. The smirk, it would seem, is an indicator that he put two and two together.

"You’re a Real Piece of Work, Norma."

Ever the dutiful son, Norman is washing windows at the motel. He looks over to see Bradley putting a cross at the site of her dad’s car accident—though technically, his passing was due to the fact that his body was used as kindling, not the car wreck. But I don’t suppose you’d argue that point with a girl in mourning, and Norman doesn’t. Instead, he offers his condolences, then puts his arm around her and pulls her close. Emma would not be pleased. Too bad she’s laid up with the flu.

Inside, Dylan is putting groceries away. Norma looks nearly as stunned as she did when Keith Summers came plowing into her dining room. “What are you doing?!” she asks.

“What? I’m living here for a while. I just thought I should contribute.”

She looks mildly pleased until he calls her “a real piece of work,” then asks how long she’s been seeing the cop. She says it’s none of his business, and he tells her that she should be careful. “I don’t trust him,” Dylan says, and Norma looks thoughtful.

"Death is Profound, Isn't It?"

Later that evening, Norman is walking downtown when he sees the deputy with someone pulled over. He pulls his hood up. Shelby spots him anyway and calls after him, but Norman ignores him. Shelby gives chase, then pops up down an alley. “Freeze!” he yells, jumping out and shining his flashlight directly into Norman’s eyes, making Norman drop everything in his hands. Then Shelby laughs, and it’s exactly reminiscent of that jerky guy you knew in high school who thought his own barely-concealed aggression was totally hilarious “one of the guys” behavior.

Anger flashes across Norman’s face, but he quickly contains it. Shelby inquires as to what Norman is doing; Norman explains the Bradley situation and says he’s taking her some videos to help take her mind off of her dad’s death.

“Death is profound, isn’t it?” Shelby says. So many bizarre responses to things in this episode.

“Hm. I guess so,” Norman responds, unwilling to show his hand. Shelby plows ahead, ignoring Norman’s indifference.

“Look, I really like your mom. She’s a good woman and I care for her.” Norman actually snarls a little. Danger, Will Robinson!

“So, I think it would be a good idea and maybe even a necessary idea for you and I to get to know each other better. Do you like fishing?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never done it,” Norman says.

“Really?! Then I’m going to teach you how. You’re going to love this. Trust me.” Norman reluctantly nods. He thinks the convo is done, but Shelby grabs him for one last bit of wisdom: “Norman? Next time I say hi to you out here on the street? Don’t run away.”

I’m definitely left with the feeling that Norman is not the weirdo in this scene.

"Sometimes You Hear and See Things That Aren't There."

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Norma is in bed, looking up information about city council meetings. Norman comes in. “I need to talk to you. I need to tell you something.”

She’s absorbed in the website, not really paying attention, so he touches her chin—you know, as normal teenage boys do.

“There’s a girl in his basement. Officer Shelby’s. She’s like less than 20. Drugged. I think he’s running some kind of an Asian sex slave business with Keith Summers.”

He’s spouting off information that would make any sane person run to dial 911, but Norma doesn’t look even remotely alarmed—just frustrated. Of the many questions she could ask, “Why on Earth would you go into Zack's house?” is the first one.

Norman reminds her that she was the one who told him to get the belt back.

“Norman, I never told you that,” she sighs. He swears she did, and that's when Norma drops the bomb: “Honey, sometimes you hear and see things that aren’t there.”

“That’s not true," he protests.

“It’s true. I don’t want you to worry, but you’ve done this for a while. It’s like some kind of trance or something. I don’t want you to worry. Don’t be scared. Honey, I’m going to protect you,” she says, and Norman flees.

"Why Are You in the Basement in the Middle of the Night?"

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Sleepover at Shelby’s house. Norma wakes up the the middle of the night to creep down to the basement just to reassure herself that Norman is seeing things. She’s relieved when she gets down there to find totally normal basement stuff—no bed, no disco ball, no sex slave. She even finds the locked steel door, but there’s nothing in there but boxes. Suddenly, the deputy practically apparates onto the screen right behind her.

“Why are you in the basement in the middle of the night?” he yawns.

Norma freely admits that she’s snooping, but manages to do it in a flirtatious way. He seems appeased (and completely unconcerned), but he must know what the deal is. Even if Norman is imagining things, he still left a trail behind when he went through the basement, knocking things over and unlocking a giant steel door. I don’t think Shelby is going to find it coincidental that two people are suddenly interested in his basement at the same time.

"I Need to Know That I Can Trust You, Norman."

Back at Bates Manor, Norman is getting dressed. His ankle is all bruised up. He frowns at it, then hastily pulls the sock up over it.

Downstairs, Norma is reading on the couch when Norman pops in to throw some angst at her about her sleepover. 

She says she made an extra turkey pot pie and took it over to Shelby. Is that what the kids are calling it these days? It's not enough to appease Norman's little snit about it, and Norma accuses him of being jealous.

“I’m not jealous. You’re my mother, not my girlfriend,” he spits. EXACTLY. Then Norma tells him she checked the basement. "There was nothing there. You're acting crazy," she says.

“I’m not crazy. I know what I saw. Look, she grabbed my ankle as I was trying to get out. Did I do this to myself?” Norma is still not convinced, and tells Norman that he is going fishing with Zack. End of story.

So, they do. They’re awkwardly hanging out when Shelby wades into the bonding business with this gem out of nowhere: “So how was your relationship with your dad? Your mom tells me he was a little abusive.” Way to delicately ease into it, Shelby. Understandably, Norman clams up, and the deputy gets angry.

“I’m putting myself on the line every day, protecting your mom,” he guilt trips. “And in so doing, I’m protecting you.” Then he launches into that familiar trust speech again. “I need to know that I can trust you, Norman. And you need to know you can trust me. Can you do that? Can you trust me?” His tone of voice would indicate that he's speaking to a toddler.

“Yes, I can trust you,” Norman enunciates very clearly and purposefully while shooting laser beams out of his eyes. Then Shelby’s phone rings. Something’s come up.

“Oh well,” Norman says, and he is unable to conceal his delight.

The thing that came up? A fisherman has discovered Keith Summers’ very distinctive watch in his fishing net. It’s attached to his severed hand.

"I Killed the Crap Out of Him."

Norman meets Bradley for a little ice cream date, where she tells him that he's one of the few people who aren't judging her or pushing her to tear up.

“I’m glad you can stand to be with me,” he says, and then they discuss grief and how crappy death is.

“I like being with you, Norman,” she says, and then she abruptly blurts out, “Hey, I wonder whose hand they found.” Nice transition.

“What hand?” Norman asks.

“Um, they found a decomposing hand in a fisherman’s net.”

“Do they know whose hand it was?” he says, faux-casually.

“No, just some man’s hand.” Norman runs home, of course, and immediately tells his mother, who tries to pooh-pooh the situation.

“You’re panicking. It’s just a hand. It could be a million different hands," Norma says, which would normally be amusing, but in White Pine Bay, it really could be a number of hands. An eye for an eye—or a hand for a hand, as it were.

Then the doorbell rings. It’s Shelby, but he’s not there to be uncomfortably sexual in front of Norma’s sons like he normally is. Instead, he’s taking her to the station so Sheriff Romero can ask a few questions.

When she gets there, Romero wants to know what happened, but Norma plays dumb. “I was just at home and the police came and told me you wanted to talk to me.” The sheriff is not amused. He tells her that carpet fibers were found under Summers' watch, and that it was going to be a cakewalk to match them to the carpet Norma(n) was pulling up that same night.

“Well, have fun doing that,” Norma says. Romero tries to get her to confess to Keith’s murder by saying that he sympathized—Summers wasn't a nice guy, and he may have threatened her or scared her. Then he asks her where she dumped the carpet. They haven't found it yet, and it sure would be helpful if she could tell them where she last left it. Yeah, like that's going to happen.

Norma, of course, says she doesn’t remember, then drags Norman to the dumpster where they trashed it. The carpet is, of course, gone. She whips out her phone, then calls the garbage service with a bogus story about losing her wedding ring. They tell her which dump that particular dumpster is taken to, but when she gets there, she finds it’s locked up for the day. Norma goes a little mad—we all do sometimes—and for a moment, I think she’s going to throw herself into the barbed wire at the top of the fence. Adding to the chaos is Norman, who’s yelling that she should have called the cops when it happened since it was self defense.

“I didn’t defend myself,” she sobs. “I killed the crap out of him. I don't know why I did it, I was just so angry, angry that he would come into my home, and he would do that to me. You don't understand, Norman. My whole life—my whole life—I’ve had to put up with things.”

"Be a 17-Year-Old for Five Minutes."

Resigned to the fact that she’s probably going down for this, Norma spends the rest of the evening crying in her room. Norman listens to her through the vent in his room for a while, then makes a break for it. He finds Dylan sitting on the porch of the motel—it seems to be his favorite hangout—drinking what looks like a Southern Comfort knockoff.

Dylan offers Norman a swig, which he takes, promptly choking on it. Food for thought: Norman’s an alcoholic in the book that inspired the Psycho craze. Is this a look at things to come? Or just a typical teenage moment?

“Don’t laugh at me,” Norman says, wiping his face.

“I’m not,” Dylan says. “I’m sorry you had to deal with her alone. She’s crazy.” Those words are apparently the equivalent of “Open Sesame,” because Norman pulls up a seat and spills the sordid details of everything that has happened since they arrived, from Norma being stab-happy to the girl chained up in Shelby’s basement.

Dylan’s strangely quiet about the events, and it’s only at the end that he finally says, “I’m gonna help you.” It’s not clear if he means that he’s going to help with all of this madness, or if he’s going to get psychiatric help because he thinks Norman has gone off the deep end.

Then Bradley texts, and from Norman's expression, Dylan knows it’s a girl. “Is she pretty? Do you like her? Text her right now and tell her you’re coming over.”

Norman does, showing off some pretty impressive texting skills. If Norman did Ron Burgundy impressions, he would have said, “Texting was a bad choice,” because he immediately regretted his response.

Moments later, Bradley responds that she’d love to have him over, but Norman hesitates. “Be a 17-year-old for five minutes,” Dylan urges. “Go have fun.” It’s an oddly nice brotherly moment.

Norman does, and as soon as he leaves, Dylan’s face turns into a mask of worry.

"Norma Louise Bates, You're Under Arrest."

As promised, Norman shows up at Bradley’s house. They go to her room, where he is awkward and adorable. Awkworable? Adorward?

“Thank you for helping me so much,” Bradley says, taking his hand. “I’m just tired of being sad. I want to feel something else for a little while. Do you think I’m weird?”

“No. I don’t think you’re weird,” he says. She thanks him, and he responds, “It’s my pleasure,” which no 17-year-old boy has ever said. Then there’s making out (and more).

At home, Norma has realized that it’s late, and her precious Normie is not at home yet. What’s good for the gander is apparently not good for the goose. Dylan is elated to inform her that Norman is out. With a girl

“I hope to God he’s getting laid,” Dylan says, “Because he sure as hell deserves it, for putting up with your crazy ass.” He then proceeds to tell her that Norman spilled enough damning information that Dylan could get Norman taken away, if he was so inclined.

“Nobody’s taking him away from me,” she says.

“That girl is, right now,” he sneers, and then they physically start to fight—until the doorbell rings.

Norma runs downstairs, thinking it’s Norman. It’s not. It’s the cops, and Norma is under arrest. Worst. Night. Ever.

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20 Facts About Your Favorite Coen Brothers Movies
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Gramercy Pictures

Ethan Coen turns 60 years old today, if you can believe it. Since bursting onto the scene in 1984 with the cult classic Blood Simple, the younger half of (arguably) the most dynamic moviemaking sibling duo in Hollywood has helped create some of the most memorable and quirky films in cinematic history, from Raising Arizona to Fargo and The Big Lebowski to No Country For Old Men. To celebrate the monumental birthday of one of the great writer-directors of our time (though he’s mostly uncredited as a director), here are some facts about your favorite Coen brothers movies.

1. THE COENS THINK BLOOD SIMPLE IS “PRETTY DAMN BAD.”

Fifteen years after Blood Simple’s release, the Coens reflected upon their first feature in the 2000 book My First Movie. “It’s crude, there’s no getting around it,” Ethan said. “On the other hand, it’s all confused with the actual process of making the movie and finishing the movie which, by and large, was a positive experience,” Joel said. “You never get entirely divorced from it that way. So, I don’t know. It’s a movie that I have a certain affection for. But I think it’s pretty damn bad!”

2. KEVIN COSTNER AND RICHARD JENKINS AUDITIONED FOR RAISING ARIZONA.

Kevin Costner auditioned three times to play H.I., only to see Nicolas Cage snag the role. Richard Jenkins had his first of many auditions for the Coens for Raising Arizona. He also (unsuccessfully) auditioned for Miller's Crossing (1990) and Fargo (1996) before calling it quits with the Coens. In 2001, Joel and Ethan cast Jenkins in The Man Who Wasn't There, even though he had never auditioned for it.

3. THE BROTHERS TURNED DOWN BATMAN TO MAKE MILLER’S CROSSING.

After Raising Arizona’s success established them as more than one-hit indie film wonders, the Coens had some options with regard to what project they could tackle next. Reportedly, their success meant that they were among the filmmakers being considered to make Batman for Warner Bros. Of course, the Coens ultimately decided to go the less commercial route, and Tim Burton ended up telling the story of The Dark Knight on the big screen.

4. BARTON FINK AND W.P. MAYHEW WERE LOOSELY BASED ON CLIFFORD ODETS AND WILLIAM FAULKNER.

The Coens acknowledge that Fink and Odets had similar backgrounds, but they had different personalities: Odets was extroverted, for one thing. John Turturro, not his directors, read Odets’s 1940 journal. The Coens acknowledged that John Mahoney (Mayhew) looks a lot like the The Sound and the Fury author.

5. THE COENS' WEB OF DECEPTION IN FARGO GOES EVEN FURTHER THAN THE OPENING CREDITS. 

While the tag on the beginning of the movie reads “This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987,” Fargo is, by no stretch of the imagination, a true story. During the film's press tour, the Coens admitted that while not pinpoint accurate, the story was indeed inspired by a similar crime that occurred in Minnesota, with Joel stating, “In its general structure, the film is based on a real event, but the details of the story and the characters are fictional.”

However, any and all efforts to uncover anything resembling such a crime ever occurring in Minnesota come up empty, and in an introduction to the published script, Ethan pretty much admitted as much, writing that Fargo “aims to be both homey and exotic, and pretends to be true." 

6. THEY WANTED MARLON BRANDO TO PLAY JEFFREY LEBOWSKI.

According to Alex Belth, who wrote the e-book The Dudes Abide on his time spent working as an assistant to the Coens, casting the role of Jeffrey Lebowski was one of the last decisions made before filming. Names tossed around for the role included Robert Duvall (who passed because he wasn’t fond of the script), Anthony Hopkins (who passed since he had no interest in playing an American), and Gene Hackman (who was taking a break at the time). A second “wish list” included an oddball “who’s who," including Norman Mailer, George C. Scott, Jerry Falwell, Gore Vidal, Andy Griffith, William F. Buckley, and Ernest Borgnine.

The Coens’ ultimate Big Lebowski, however, was the enigmatic Marlon Brando, who by that time was reaching the end of his career (and life). Apparently, the Coens amused themselves by quoting some of their favorite Jeffrey Lebowski lines (“Strong men also cry”) in a Brando accent. The role would eventually go to the not-particularly-famous—albeit pitch-perfect—veteran character actor David Huddleston. In true Dude fashion, it all worked out in the end.

7. JOEL COEN WOOED FRANCES MCDORMAND ON THE SET OF BLOOD SIMPLE.

Coen and McDormand fell in love while making Blood Simple and got married a couple of years later, after production wrapped. McDormand told The Daily Beast about the moment when she roped him in. “I’d only brought one book to read to Austin, Texas, where we were filming, and I asked him if there was anything he’d recommend,” she said. “He brought me a box of James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler paperbacks, and I said, ‘Which one should I start with?’ And he said, ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice.’ I read it, and it was one of the sexiest f*ckin’ books I’ve ever read. A couple of nights later, I said, ‘Would you like to come over and discuss the book?’ That did it. He seduced me with literature. And then we discussed books and drank hot chocolate for several evenings. It was f*ckin’ hot. Keep it across the room for as long as you can—that’s a very important element.”

8. O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? WAS ORIGINALLY INSPIRED BY THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Joel Coen revealed as much at the 15th anniversary reunion. “It started as a 'three saps on the run' kind of movie, and then at a certain point we looked at each other and said, 'You know, they're trying to get home—let's just say this is The Odyssey. We were thinking of it more as The Wizard of Oz. We wanted the tag on the movie to be: 'There's No Place Like Home.’”

9. THE ACTORS IN FARGO WENT THROUGH EXTENSIVE TRAINING TO GET THEIR ACCENTS RIGHT.

Having grown up in Minnesota, the Coens were more than familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the “Minnesota nice” accent, but much of the cast—including Frances McDormand and William H. Macy—needed coaching to get the intricacies right. Actors were even given copies of the scripts with extensive pronunciation notes. According to dialect coach Larissa Kokernot, who also appeared as one of the prostitutes Gaear and Carl rendezvous with in Brainerd, the “musicality” of the Minnesota nice accent comes from a place of “wanting people to agree with each other and get along.” This homey sensibility, contrasted with the ugly crimes committed throughout the movie, is, of course, one of the major reasons why the dark comedy is such an enduring classic.

10. NICOLAS CAGE'S HAIR REACTED TO H.I.'S STRESS LEVEL IN RAISING ARIZONA.

Ethan claimed that Cage was "crazy about his Woody Woodpecker haircut. The more difficulties his character got in, the bigger the wave in his hair got. There was a strange connection between the character and his hair."

11. A PROP FROM THE HUDSUCKER PROXY INSPIRED THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE.

A bit of set dressing from 1994’s The Hudsucker Proxy eventually led to 2001’s The Man Who Wasn’t There. In a barbershop scene, there’s a poster hanging in the background that features a range of men’s hairstyles from the 1940s. The brothers liked the prop and kept it, and it’s what eventually served as the inspiration for The Man Who Wasn’t There.

12. GEORGE CLOONEY SIGNED ON TO O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? BEFORE EVEN READING THE SCRIPT.

The brothers visited George Clooney in Phoenix while he was making Three Kings (1999), wanting to work with him after seeing his performance in Out of Sight (1998). Moments after they put their script on Clooney’s hotel room table, the actor said “Great, I’m in.”

13. A SNAG IN THE MILLER’S CROSSING SCRIPT ULTIMATELY LED TO BARTON FINK.

Miller’s Crossing is a complicated beast, full of characters double-crossing each other and scheming for mob supremacy. In fact, it’s so complicated that at one point during the writing process the Coens had to take a break. It turned out to be a productive one: While Miller’s Crossing was on pause, the brothers wrote the screenplay for Barton Fink, the story of a writer who can’t finish a script.

14. INTOLERABLE CRUELTY IS THE FIRST COEN MOVIE THAT WASN’T THE BROTHERS’ ORIGINAL IDEA.

In 1995, the Coens rewrote a script originally penned by other screenwriters, Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone, and John Romano. They didn’t decide to direct the movie, which became Intolerable Cruelty, until 2003.

15. THE LADYKILLERS WAS WRITTEN FOR BARRY SONNENFELD TO DIRECT.

The Coens effortlessly jump from crime thriller to comedy without missing a beat. So when they were commissioned to write a remake of the British black comedy The Ladykillers for director Barry Sonnenfeld, it seemed to fall in line with their cinematic sensibilities. When Sonnenfeld dropped out of the project, the Coens were hired to direct the film.

16. BURN AFTER READING MARKED THE FIRST TIME SINCE MILLER’S CROSSING THAT THE COENS DIDN’T WORK WITH THEIR USUAL CINEMATOGRAPHER, ROGER DEAKINS.

Instead, eventual Academy Award-winner Emmanuel Lubezki acted as the director of photography. The Coens would work with Deakins again on every one of their films until 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis.

17. IT TOOK SOME CONVINCING TO GET JAVIER BARDEM TO SAY “YES” TO NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Though it’s hard to imagine No Country for Old Men without Javier Bardem’s menacing—and Oscar-winning—performance as antagonist Anton Chigurh, he almost passed on the role. “It’s not something I especially like, killing people—even in movies,” Bardem said of his disdain for violence. “When the Coens called, I said, ‘Listen, I’m the wrong actor. I don’t drive, I speak bad English, and I hate violence.’ They laughed and said, ‘Maybe that’s why we called you.”’

18. PATTON OSWALT AUDITIONED FOR A SERIOUS MAN.

Patton Oswalt auditioned for the role of the obnoxious Arthur Gopnik in A Serious Man, a part that ultimately went to Richard Kind. Oswalt talked about his audition while appearing on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, in which it was also revealed that Maron was being considered for the lead role of Larry Gopnik (the role that earned Michael Stuhlbarg his first, and so far only, Golden Globe nomination).

19. THE CAT IN INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS WAS “A NIGHTMARE.”

Ulysses, the orange cat who practically stole Inside Llewyn Davis away from Oscar Isaac, was reportedly a bit of a diva. “The cat was a nightmare,” Ethan Coen said on the DVD commentary. “The trainer warned us and she was right. She said, uh, ‘Dogs like to please you. The cat only likes to please itself.’ A cat basically is impossible to train. We have a lot of footage of cats doing things we don't want them to do, if anyone's interested; I don't know if there's a market for that.”

20. THE COEN BROTHERS PROBABLY DON’T LOVE THE BIG LEBOWSKI AS MUCH AS YOU DO. 

We’re assuming the Coen brothers are plenty fond of The Dude; after all, he doesn’t end up facing imminent death or tragedy, which is more than most of their protagonists have going for them. But in a rare Coen brothers interview in 2009, Joel Coen flatly stated, “That movie has more of an enduring fascination for other people than it does for us.”

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10 Terrific Facts About Stephen King
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As if being one of the world's most successful and prolific writers wasn't already reason enough to celebrate, Stephen King is ringing in his birthday as the toast of Hollywood. As It continues to break box office records, we're digging into the horror master's past. Here are 10 things you might not have known about Stephen King, who turns 70 years old today.

1. STEPHEN KING AND HIS WIFE, TABITHA, OWN A RADIO STATION.

Stephen and Tabitha King own Zone Radio, a company that serves to head their three radio stations in Maine. One of them, WKIT, is a classic rock station that goes by the tagline "Stephen King's Rock Station."

2. HE'S A HARDCORE RED SOX FAN.

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Not only did he write a story about the Boston Red Sox—The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (who was a former Red Sox pitcher)—he also had a cameo in the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore movie Fever Pitch, which is about a crazed Sox fan. He plays himself and throws out the first pitch at a game.

In 2004, King and Stewart O'Nan, another novelist, chronicled their reactions to the season that finally brought the World Series title back to Beantown. It's appropriately titled Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season.

3. HE WAS HIT BY A CAR, THEN BOUGHT THE CAR THAT HIT HIM.

You probably remember that King was hit by a van not far from his summer home in Maine in 1999. The incident left King with a collapsed lung, multiple fractures to his hip and leg, and a gash to the head. Afterward, King and his lawyer bought the van for $1500 with King announcing that, "Yes, we've got the van, and I'm going to take a sledgehammer and beat it!"

4. AS A KID, HIS FRIEND WAS STRUCK AND KILLED BY A TRAIN.

King's brain seems to be able to create chilling stories at such an amazing clip, yet he's seen his fair share of horror in real life. In addition to the aforementioned car accident, when King was just a kid his friend was struck and killed by a train (a plot line that made it into his story "The Body," which was adapted into Stand By Me). While it would be easy to assume that this incident informed much of King's writing, the author claims to have no memory of the event:

"According to Mom, I had gone off to play at a neighbor’s house—a house that was near a railroad line. About an hour after I left I came back (she said), as white as a ghost. I would not speak for the rest of the day; I would not tell her why I’d not waited to be picked up or phoned that I wanted to come home; I would not tell her why my chum’s mom hadn’t walked me back but had allowed me to come alone.

"It turned out that the kid I had been playing with had been run over by a freight train while playing on or crossing the tracks (years later, my mother told me they had picked up the pieces in a wicker basket). My mom never knew if I had been near him when it happened, if it had occurred before I even arrived, or if I had wandered away after it happened. Perhaps she had her own ideas on the subject. But as I’ve said, I have no memory of the incident at all; only of having been told about it some years after the fact."

5. HE WROTE A MUSICAL WITH JOHN MELLENCAMP.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

King, John Mellencamp, and T Bone Burnett collaborated on a musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, which made its debut in 2012. The story is based on a house that Mellencamp bought in Indiana that came complete with a ghost story. Legend has it that three siblings were messing around in the woods and one of the brothers accidentally got shot. The surviving brother and sister jumped in the car to go get help, and in their panic, swerved off the road right into a tree and were killed instantly. Of course, the three now haunt the woods by Mellencamp's house.

6. HE PLAYED IN A BAND WITH OTHER SUCCESSFUL AUTHORS.

King played rhythm guitar for a band made up of successful writers called The Rock Bottom Remainders. From 1992 to 2012, the band "toured" about once a year. In addition to King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Barbara Kingsolver, Matt Groening and Ridley Pearson were just some of its other members.

7. HE'S A NATIVE MAINER.

A photo of Stephen King's home in Bangor, Maine.
By Julia Ess - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

King writes about Maine a lot because he knows and loves The Pine Tree State: he was born there, grew up there, and still lives there (in Bangor). Castle Rock, Derry, and Jerusalem's Lot—the fictional towns he has written about in his books—are just products of King's imagination, but he can tell you exactly where in the state they would be if they were real.

8. HE HAS BATTLED DRUG AND ALCOHOL PROBLEMS.

Throughout much of the 1980s, King struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. In discussing this time, he admitted that, "There's one novel, Cujo, that I barely remember writing at all. I don't say that with pride or shame, only with a vague sense of sorrow and loss. I like that book. I wish I could remember enjoying the good parts as I put them down on the page."

It came to a head when his family members staged an intervention and confronted him with drug paraphernalia they had collected from his trash can. It was the eye-opener King needed; he got help and has been sober ever since.

9. THERE WAS A RUMOR THAT HE WROTE A LOST TIE-IN NOVEL.

King was an avid Lost fan and sometimes wrote about the show in his Entertainment Weekly column, "The Pop of King." The admiration was mutual. Lost's writers mentioned that King was a major influence in their work. There was a lot of speculation that he was the man behind Bad Twin, a Lost tie-in mystery, but he debunked that rumor.

10. HE IS SURROUNDED BY WRITERS.

A photo of Stephen King's son, author Joe Hill
Joe Hill
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Stephen isn't the only writer in the King family: His wife, Tabitha King, has published several novels. Joe, their oldest son, followed in his dad's footsteps and is a bestselling horror writer (he writes under the pen name Joe Hill). Youngest child Owen has written a collection of short stories and one novella and he and his dad co-wrote Sleeping Beauties, which will be released later this month (Owen also married a writer). Naomi, the only King daughter, is a minister and gay activist.

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