The Coens have left their indelible mark on every genre they've worked in - Western, gangster, musical - but they've never done anything like a biopic before. Now it looks like the Coens have found a subject for their next film, according to the L.A. Times' 24 Frames blog, Greenwich Village blues singer and activist Dave van Ronk, who was a major influence on Bob Dylan. He died in 2002, and his memoirs, THE MAYOR OF MCDOUGAL STREET, were published posthumously and will be used for material in the Coens' new film. The film will document the Greenwich Village folk and music scene.
Van Ronk was a huge inspiration to many folk and blues artists, including Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen. Left-leaning politically, he was arrested at the famous Stonewall riots in 1969.
The film will contain musical performances "pretty much all performed live, single instrument" according to Joel, and at a recent event the Coens compared it to Noah Baumbach's MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, with a more natural style of filmmaking, dropping the audience into the world with little preparation. No actors for any of the roles have been suggested, but "I have to say, the thing we’re doing now, we’re not writing specifically for any of the parts which is unusual for us,” said Joel Coen in a recent discussion.
At this point the Coens could adapt a cereal box and I'd be there to see it. This sounds like something along the lines of Todd Haynes' I'M NOT THERE, in my opinion of the best biopics out there. I'm not familiar with Dave van Ronk's work, but you'll bet I will be as soon as possible.