25 Best Coen Brother Characters

From Barton Fink to the Dude, counting down Joel and Ethan's craziest, most unforgettable creations

Load Previous

21. Ed Crane ('The Man Who Wasn't There')

The slender and virtually silent barber of a small California town circa 1949, Billy Bob Thornton's laconic Ed Crane might blend into the wallpaper if not for the smoldering cigarette that's constantly in his hands. He's the most passive protagonist the Coens have ever written — naturally, he winds up in the electric chair for the one thing he tries to take from this godforsaken world. And yet it's hard not to feel for a guy who surrenders so completely to the meaningless of existence — someone uninterested in swimming against the tide that he'd sooner gawk at a UFO than let it whisk him away from jail. For a man who wasn’t there in the first place, Crane sure is hard to forget. DE

Back to Top