The early buzz has been tremendous for Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers’ upcoming film about the Sixties folk scene in Greenwich Village, New York. One scene in particular is generating extra attention: the film’s title songwriter (played by Oscar Isaac) lands a gig recording a goofy space-race protest tune alongside a pair of awkward folk artists (played by Justin Timberlake and Girls star Adam Driver). Watch it here.
The three-minute clip is equally surreal and hilarious. Isaac’s character is clearly slumming for an easy-paying gig and not impressed by the song, “Please Mr. Kennedy,” written by Jim Berkey (Timberlake). The duo argue over the placement of the track’s absurd lyrics (particularly the “puh-puh please” line leading into the verse) before singing in unison over bouncy acoustic guitars.
“I sweat when they stuffed me in the pressure suits/ Rubber helmet, Flash Gordon boots,” they sing. “I need to breathe, don’t need to be a hero/ Are you hearing me loud and clear-o?” Driver’s character, the cowboy hat-wearing Al Cody, accompanies the track with occasional hoots and hollers. It’s pretty ridiculous – and it’s easy to see why Vulture called it “the most magically amazing scene of the year.”
“I don’t think I had ever even walked into a studio before,” Driver said about shooting the scene. “And then it’s myself and Justin Timberlake and Oscar [Isaac] and then looking up, there’s T Bone [Burnett], and the Punch Brothers are coming in and out, and Marcus Mumford is there, and we’re all in a circle trying to figure out this song. It was fucking crazy, what was happening. I think the only good thing I did was surrender control completely to everyone around me, since I felt they were far more qualified. I was just trying to be there and to enact the best version of what they wanted.”