If you’re a fan of the Coen brothers, and I mean a real fanboy of Joel and Ethan, then you may be familiar with the name Roderick Jaynes. After all, he’s the Academy Award nominated editor who worked on both Fargo and No Country for Old Men. The spectacularly talented Jaynes received nominations for both of those films, though he did not win in either case. Of course maybe that’s for the best, since actually showing up for the Academy Awards was apparently beneath him.
Or maybe that’s because he doesn’t actually exist.
That of course makes it odd that he’s credited with having edited every single film the Coen brothers have ever done, and not just Fargo and No Country for Old Men. If you’ve seen one of their films and stuck around through the credits, you’ve seen his name roll on by. So if he’s not a real person, who the hell is it? Some masked vigilante whose alter ego is a mild mannered film editor?
Not really. It’s actually a pseudonym that the Coens use in order to get around some union issues, apparently, because the Coens edit all of their own films. That hasn’t stopped the legend of Roderick Jaynes, described by the Coens as a grumpy old British man in his 80’s or 90’s, from growing over the years. Hell, Entertainment Weekly once named him one of the “50 Smartest People in Hollywood.”
All of this makes it completely appropriate that the Coens once made a film called The Man Who Wasn’t There, considering that’s a perfectly apt way to describe their favorite editor.