Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled If youre a great character actor, youve probably sat behind a desk in a Coen Brothers movie
Screenshot: Barton Fink (YouTube)

The Coen Brothers have an eye for talent. Frances McDormand, Oscar Isaac, and Hailee Steinfeld scored their breakout roles in the duo’s films, and the filmmakers have made routine collaborators out of the esteemed likes of George Clooney, Scarlett Johannson, Jeff Bridges, Billy Bob Thornton, and Holly Hunter. But the well of talent rounding out the fringes of their reels runs deep—character actors you know without being able to name are all over their filmography, and they’re usually sitting behind desks.


Thankfully, a website now exists to help you identify those very actors, from the prolific likes of Leon Russom (Lebowski’s Malibu police chief) and Edward Herrmann (Intolerable Cruelty’s Rex Rexroth) to late Homicide star Jon Polito and Barry’s Stephen Root, the latter of whom boast multiple appearances in Coen fare. Others, like Steve Buscemi and F. Murray Abraham, are more well-known commodities, while a few of the faces, like Raising Arizona’s Ralph Norton, count their experience with the Coens as their only onscreen role.

If anything, the site serves as a testament to how good the Coens are at finding the perfect oddball to turn even the most transitionary of shots into something memorably idiosyncratic.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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