Hi everyone, I am Oscar Isaac, I play Llewyn Davis in the new film INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (Trailer) from CBS Films. I sing, play guitar and share the screen with a number of amazing actors...and a cat. Ask T Bone and me anything you want!

Hi Reddit, T Bone Burnett here too! I produced the music in the film, including the recent Golden Globe Nominated song “Please Mr. Kennedy,” ask away.

Proof: https://twitter.com/CBSFilms/status/412636065086709760

Thank you so much for joining us! That is all the time we have for today, sorry for the questions we didn't have time to answer. Check out INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS this weekend!

Comments: 120 • Responses: 26  • Date: 

ajb199014 karma

Oscar: You play music and/or sing in a lot of your movies. Was acting what you always wanted to do or was there a time where you humored the idea of being a musician?

Also, Drive is one of the best movies of the last few years. I almost just asked you "Where's the deluxe version?"

T Bone: I love your work, especially on Crazy Heart and O Brother Where Art Thou. Where do you keep your well-deserved Academy Award?

Good luck this awards season, guys. I'm rooting for you.

Oscar_Isaac16 karma

Thanks man. I never separated music and acting, i always did them simultaneously. It wasn't until i went to drama school that I left the band thing behind to focus on acting... but I have always and will continue to write and record music.

daughterrofeve13 karma

Punch Brothers. Actual superheroes or just the most badass musicians around?

Oscar_Isaac35 karma

One night the Punch Bros played nearly all of In Rainbows just sitting around the living room. Superheroes.

Frajer7 karma

Was Llewyn meant to sound like a particular folksinger or was he more of a mish mosh?

Oscar_Isaac15 karma

Llewyn is entirely a fictional character, however certain elements of Dave Van Ronk's life and his repertoire of music were major inspirations

CarlyMMC6 karma

I was lucky enough to attend the "Inside Llewyn Davis" concert at Town Hall in NYC. T Bone, amazing job on the event. One of the most unforgettable concerts I've been to. Oscar, what was it like to share a stage with the likes of Joan Baez, Patti Smith, etc.?

Oscar_Isaac10 karma

Terrifying, humbling and the most harrowing moment of my life.

jepense5 karma

What, for each of you, were the most rewarding parts of your work in this movie? What were your biggest challenges?

Oscar_Isaac14 karma

Developing a friendship with Joel, Ethan and Tbone was far and away the most rewarding part of working on the movie. That and getting to have a vinyl with my songs on it was pretty friggin cool too.

bougieKev4 karma

Thanks in advance for the AMA!

I absolutely loved the movie, it was unlike anything the Coens have done before. I must ask, T-Bone, what was it like working with the Coens again, and Oscar, what was it like working with the Coens for the first time?

Oscar_Isaac10 karma

It was amazing to work with those dudes. They are relaxed, and genuine and incredibly funny. Dream come true.

MissSpicyMcHaggis4 karma

I loved you in "10 years." One of the best movies I've ever seen. I have your song on every playlist i make now.

Oscar_Isaac9 karma

Thanks! I like your handle.

AubreyPlazasButtHair4 karma

Oscaar Isaac, name 1 actor and 1 actress you'd like to work with.

T Bone Burnett, who is your favorite film composer?

Both, what are your favorite Christmas song?

Oscar_Isaac10 karma

Gene Hackman, Fran Mcdormand. Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi


kylecajones4 karma


I've loved all of your work (esp. O Brother). What was it like working with Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers? They're personal favorites of mine and I couldn't have been happier to hear them on this soundtrack.

Edit: Oscar, same question to you. Didn't realize you recorded "The Shoals of Herring" with them.

Oscar_Isaac5 karma

Chris is a monster. And i fell in love with those dudes. Ive had the opportunity now of playing with the Punch Bros many times and its made me so much better. In fact Gabe Witcher and I have been getting together ever since and have been writing some tunes. Perhaps one day we'll share what we come up with.

mentalstate3 karma

T Bone, are you just smoking joints throughout the filming of Another Day, Another Time?

Oscar Isaac, after many years of telling myself I'd learn how to fingerpick, I've finally got "Green Green Rocky Road" down pretty good. Thanks (and thanks to DvR, who's instructional video is just what I needed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMJRI_neSlU)

The show was really great, and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie very much. You guys are great.

Oscar_Isaac7 karma

Yeah, its pretty awesome that there is a video of Dave Van Ronk teaching how to play some of his songs. That was a life saver.

JoeDurp3 karma

Oscar you've worked with a lot of amazing directors including Soderbergh, Scott, Refn, and now the Coen brothers how do each of these directors differ in their creative process?

Oscar_Isaac35 karma

Soderbergh shoots it himself. No video village (tent with monitors) Wild and chaotic. Lots of energy. Scott is a General. Tactics and logistics. He's a painter too. His canvas is a wall of monitors and his palette is a walkie talkie. Refn is a punk rocker. Willfully subversive. Taught me a great way of looking at scenes - "If the script says the character walks through the door, i think why does he not come through the window, up through the floor etc." He figures out everything its not first. The Coens are the greatest American Folk artists working today. They create a community of artists with no ownership over a good (or bad) idea. The most relaxed, joyful and rewarding experience I have had.

prince_of_tacoma3 karma

Hey Mr. Isaac, I first want to say that I absolutely love your performance in this movie. Truly heartbreaking and amazing. I'm a huge Coens fan and Inside Llewyn Davis is now one of my favorites. Also, I've been listening to the soundtrack non-stop since I saw this, so thanks to you and Mr. Burnett. Amazing job on the music.

How much of the performances in this movie are live on set? Les Miserables kind of revolutionized the way music on film sets is handled but the final project seemed awkward and not fully rewarding. However, the performances in this looked live but also avoided the awkwardness of Les Miserables. Were they live and, if so, how do you think you (and the Coens and your production sound mixer) succeeded where others failed? If Mr. Burnett can add anything to that, I'll be thrilled to hear what you have to say as well. I'm a film sound guy so all of that stuff is fascinating to me.

Also, on a more artistic note, how do you, Mr. Isaac, feel that this film fits in to the Coens overall filmography and philosophy? What parts do you think further delve into their psyche, their ideas? I know the Coens will never answer a question like this but I'm curious if someone on the inside has any further vision into their work as a whole. The auteur threads of the Coens are one of the most confusing and enlightening and enjoyable topics for me in current cinema.

Oscar_Isaac15 karma

All of the performances with the exception of the Auld Triangle were performed live. It was crucial, particularly for Llewyn's character who is so focused on authenticity, that when he plays its for real. Had you been able to tell I wasnt really playing the guitar, or lyp-synching the whole thing would come crashing down. We didnt use any click tracks either or ear wigs so it was really like walking a tight rope with no net. I was able to lock into the rythym with little variation which allowed for Joel and Ethan to cut freely from take to take in the editing room. The Coens, through the mouth of Barton Fink, stated their manifesto early on - "I want to make theatre of the common man!" and thats what they've always done. They examine existence, in all of its tragedy and absurdity through the eyes of the commoner. Not so interested in the nobles. I also think that every character in a Coens movie think theyre the smartest person in the room.

getmymusic3 karma

Oscar: How did you get the part for Inside Llewyn Davis? Looking forward to seeing the film!

Oscar_Isaac5 karma

I auditioned. Once for the Casting Director, Ellen Chenowith, and then once for the Bros. A month later they called and offered the part. Thanks!

drjohnsonsorangepeel2 karma

Oscar, thanks for a great performance. The story hit me hard, as I am constantly struck by doubts as to my own ability as an artist, and the real possibility of failure. It seems to me like for you, and the Coens, this specter might never go away no matter how successful you become. Did you draw on any personal experiences as a performer to embody Llewyn's conceit and doubts?

Oscar_Isaac3 karma

Blessed Unrest, as Martha Graham says, is the curse of the true artist.

ArtaudisWilder2 karma

What was it like acting in a film with so many musical performances?

Oscar_Isaac6 karma

It was a great challenge. Llewyn is a guy that's pretty shut off emotionally so the songs became an important part of showing a window into who he really is. Instead of a soliloquy explaining what he's feeling he sings a song.

awhewitt2 karma

T-Bone: do you have a hair product sponsorship? What do you use?

Oscar_Isaac13 karma

I think he's a Breck girl.

hannah_storm2 karma


Oscar_Isaac5 karma

yes. my teeth.

TommyRegan2 karma

Oscar: Dunno if you're answering questions not related to this movie, but I'm wondering about your character in The Bourne Legacy, who was pretty fascinating even given the lack of screen time. Did you have a whole back story worked out for him – how he ended up in the program etc?

Oscar_Isaac7 karma

Yeah, I developed a backstory with Tony for Agent 3. We figured he'd been alone in that remote cabin for at least 3 months. He's going a l;ittle out of his mind so he is both wary of a new person but also desperate for some interaction. I had a great time working on that.

lilyandthefire2 karma

How was it working with Carey Mulligan?

Oscar_Isaac7 karma

I love that lady. Was so happy to get to work with her again.

getmymusic2 karma

Favorite songs from the movie/soundtrack?

Oscar_Isaac6 karma

I like Shoals of Herring a lot.

CleverMcEver2 karma

Oscar, You said you were in a band. What was the name, genre, and are there any recordings out there? P.S. If you don't win a shinny little golden version of yourself something just isn't right. They named that after you, correct?

Oscar_Isaac4 karma

I was a musical whore. I had lots of bands of every genre growing up. On the world wide web there may be some recordings of my two ska/punk bands - The Worms and The Blinking Underdogs. After that Ive been part of a duo called NightLab which has a bunch of stuff up on Soundcloud, experimental rock/electronic stuff. And then a bunch of acoustic stuff on the youtubes.

adavis532 karma

Oscar: Outstanding work in Inside Llewyn Davis, one of my favorite films from recent years especially from your performance. Besides the obvious Dave von Ronk, did you or the Coens have any filmic precedents for your character, or were there particular films that you watched to help craft Llewyn's portrait? Or did you just focus on historical figures for it?

Oscar_Isaac3 karma

Thank you! Many elements went into forming Llewyn for me, people from the time, a friend of mine , struggling musician that played with Van Ronk and still lives on Macdougal St., a poem called bluebird by Charles Bukowski and Buster Keaton. He in particular embodies the idea of Comic resilience. And his melancholic gaze regardless of his circumstances was a big inspiration.

Yserbius2 karma

Oscar: Just heard you on Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me yesterday. You must tell the entire story of the girl who took "Llewyn Davis" home. Specifically, how did you break it to her that you're not actually a lonely weirdo, but a normal friendly person.

Oscar_Isaac6 karma

I was seduced by all the laughter into divulging a bit too much of my personal life. I can say no more other than I am only a slightly less lonely weirdo than Llewyn.

alfienism2 karma

What were you first Paid SAG gigs? How did you prepare for this role?

Oscar_Isaac8 karma

My first speaking role was in All About the Benjamins with Ice Cube.

FletchDoesNotLive1 karma

Oscar: How was it like working with Soderbergh on Che and acting with F Murray Abraham?

Oscar_Isaac2 karma

F Murray was delightful. He was so happy to be there. Only worked the one day. He is an amazing talent. And so great in the role.

RolandTaverner1 karma

T Bone - Which are easier to work with in the studio, as a producer, actors or musicians?

Oscar - Who made the decision on the corduroy jacket? How much input did you have with character development?

Oscar_Isaac3 karma

Mary Zophres is the costume designer. She and I got together a month before shooting and landed on his look very quickly, particularly the shoes. We showed Joel and Ethan, they dug it and I wore the clothes everyday before we started shooting. Its his second skin. The Coens allowed for as much input as I was willing to give which was a lot.