Movie Reviews

"Wed Done A Lot Of Work": Woody Harrelson Recalls Trying To Rewrite A Famous No Country For Old Men Scene


  • Woody Harrelson tried to rewrite a scene in
    No Country for Old Men
    , but the Coen brothers preferred their original version.
  • The tension between Harrelson and Bardem in the hotel scene reflects the contrast in their characters’ nature.
  • The Coen brothers’ meticulous approach to filmmaking includes a strict adherence to their highly detailed scripts.

Woody Harrelson recalls trying to rewrite a famous scene from No Country for Old Men. The Coen brothers’ 2007 Best Picture-winning film, based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, follows a hunter who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and a suitcase full of $2 million in the desert, triggering a relentless pursuit by others to recover the money. Other than Harrelson, the No Country for Old Men cast also includes Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, and Tommy Lee Jones.

During a recent appearance on the Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend podcast (via Team Coco), Harrelson recalled the time he tried to rewrite a famous scene from No Country for Old Men. Watch the portion of the video below:

Harrelson recalled reading the book and finding some elements he thought would enhance his scene with Bardem. After rehearsing the rewritten scene multiple times, they performed it for the Coen brothers, who preferred their original version. Harrelson was initially disappointed since he had done a lot of work, but later acknowledged the directors were right and praised their expertise. Read Harrelson’s full story below:

As to that scene, I was shooting another somewhat forgettable movie in Vegas at the same time, so I was going back and forth and that was in New Mexico, No Country, so I came back and I got this stuff out of the book because it was a book, No Country, and so I got these things out of the book that I thought would were kind of cool in the scene, but I’d heard they don’t like to change much in terms of the script, the Coen Brothers, but anyway these things are so good, so I added these elements, rewrote the scene.

I come in, I get a hold of Javier who’s the other character in the scene, Javier Bardem, we meet over at his hotel room and we rehearse, rehearse, come in the next morning, rehearse it again, and then they come into my trailer and then me and Javier perform the newly written scene for the brothers and at the end of it they’re like, “We like it the way it was. It’s good.” Didn’t change a word. I didn’t think we laughed right at that moment. We’d done a lot of work. But anyway later, of course, they turned out to be right. Those guys man, they’re incredible.

Woody Harrelson & Javier Bardem’s No Country For Old Men Scene Explained

& Why It’s Perfect The Way It’s Written

In No Country for Old Men, Bardem plays Anton Chigurh, a hitman who is hired to recover the money, a menacing role that won him an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. Harrelson plays Carson Wells, a bounty hunter who is also hired to retrieve the money. Naturally, their paths cross, and Harrelson and Bardem’s characters come face to face for the first time about midway through the movie.

Harrelson and Bardem’s scene in No Country for Old Men takes place in a hotel room, where Chigurh ambushes Wells and holds him at gunpoint. As a seasoned bounty hunter, Wells starts the scene cool and confident, believing he understands the rules of the world they inhabit. Chigurh, on the other hand, is the embodiment of chaos. His cold, calculating presence contrasts with Wells’ false sense of control. The tension in the scene slowly builds as Wells realizes his impending fate.


No Country For Old Men Ending Explained

No Country For Old Men is a classic with a divisive ending. Here’s the meaning behind No Country For Old Men explained, including the final scene.

Case in point, the scene was masterly written as it was, and the Coen brothers won Academy Awards for writing and directing No Country for Old Men. The Coens are known for their meticulous approach to filmmaking, which includes a strict adherence to their highly detailed and carefully constructed scripts, generally not allowing actors to rewrite or improvise. Though Harrelson’s attempt to rewrite a scene from No Country for Old Men was admirable, the scene between Wells and Chigurh was already perfectly written as it was.

No Country for Old Men
is streaming on Prime Video, Paramount+, and MGM+.

Source: Team Coco

No Country for Old Men Movie Poster

No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men is a western crime-thriller based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy and directed by the Cohen Brothers. Following three protagonists, the film centers around a large $2,000,000+ cache of dirty money lost near the Rio Grande. With a veteran who finds it, a hitman who will stop at nothing to get it, and a sheriff trying to investigate the crimes connected to it, all roads lead to death and mayhem as they find themselves in each other’s crosshairs. 

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