Local musician joins priesthood for Coens' film |
By PETER COOPER
Colin Linden takes to acting
Nashville musician Colin Linden recently married Catherine Zeta-Jones to Billy Bob Thornton.
''I'm a singing priest,'' Linden said, by way of an explanation. ''And I have hair!''
Actually, Linden doesn't have hair, and he's not a priest. In the new movie Intolerable Cruelty, however, he dons a wig and unites the stars in matrimony.
Linden has more than paid his musical dues. He's been playing bluesy, rootsy music for three decades, making eight of his own albums, writing songs recorded by The Band, Kevin Gordon and others, and producing artists including Lucinda Williams and Sue Foley. Entrance into the acting world, however, came much more easily:
''(Moviemakers) Joel and Ethan Coen called me and said, 'We have a role for you in our new movie. Would you be into acting?' I said, 'Do you want me to audition?' They said, 'No, it'll be fine.' ''
Linden first came into contact with the Coens during the making of O Brother, Where Art Thou? Though he wasn't a part of the movie or the multimillion-selling soundtrack, Linden did teach O Brother actor Chris Thomas King to play Hard Time Killing Floor Blues for the movie. Linden also was a part of many of the O Brother-related touring concerts, though he never figured that experience would lead to an acting gig.
''This is a fluky thing that I'm trying to enjoy,'' he said. ''Every second of my life, I'm a guitar player and a songwriter. That's who I am. But I would act again, in a nano-second.''
On the set, Linden was asked to don a priest's collar, walk down the aisle singing Simon and Garfunkel's April Come She Will, and marry the Thornton and Zeta-Jones characters. Star George Clooney wasn't in Linden's portion of the scene, but Clooney did come to the shoot that day.
''My wife, Janice, came out to California for all this, and she got to hang out with George Clooney for a few hours, which was an exciting thing for her,'' Linden said. ''Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Bob were all really supportive, and they all were like, 'You should do more of this.'
''And George was so relaxed. He has people coming up to him all the time, but he never gives you the sense that he's 'on.' Really, none of the actors seemed to sequester themselves. At lunch, everybody sat around a table and ate together. It was a real social environment.''
Linden also appears in a party scene, playing another Simon and Garfunkel song, and his voice and guitar also are heard as the closing credits roll.
''The whole thing is bizarre, and a lot of fun,'' he said. ''It's not anything I'd planned for. At the premiere, it had been a full year since I'd shot the scenes. I got really involved in watching it, which made it stranger when the scenes came up. I mean, you're sitting there watching a movie, and then there you are in it.''
Now playing: Bell Forge 10, Bellevue 12, Franklin Cinema, Green Hills Cinema 16, Hollywood 27, Indian Lake Cinema 10, Opry Mills 20, Roxy 8, Thoroughbred 20, Wynnsong 16, Wynnsong 10.
Rated: PG-13, for sexual content, language and brief violence. 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Peter Cooper writes about music for The Tennessean. He can be reached at 259-8220, or by e-mail at email@example.com.