A Shout Out from Marfa, Texas

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The film "No Country for Old Men" was shot in a little Texas town named Marfa, population 2400. Chip Love, a bank manager in Marfa, caught the eye of the Coens when they were making No Country.


So "No Country for Old Men," we just heard about it. It was filmed in a little town in Texas. The town's called Marfa. Did you know this? It has a population of 2,400. The number one employer is the border patrol. And it has that kind of sweeping desolate landscape that the Coen brothers were looking for to make this film.

Now here's the other thing. Director P.T. Anderson was looking for that same kind of landscape. His Oscar-nominated film, "There Will Be Blood," it was also filmed in Marfa. We're told a shot in "No Country" was ruined when one of the oil wells from "There Will Be Blood" went off in the background.

So now on the line with us are Chip Love, a bank manager, and David Williams, both of Marfa, Texas. Love caught the eye of the Coens when they were making "No Country" and "Blood" was filmed on Williams' ranch. Hey, gentleman.

Mr. CHIP LOVE (Resident of Marfa, Texas; Extra in "No Country for Old Men"): Good Morning.

MARTIN: Chip, I'm going to start with you. You actually appeared in "No Country for Old Men." You finagled a part in this money.

Mr. LOVE: Well, you know, I didn't realize - believe me, at the time I didn't realize the ramifications of such.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LOVE: But there wasn't any finagling. They just casually asked, hey, you want to be in this? And I said, yeah, I guess so. And now, you know, it's like, it's crazy.

MARTIN: Who did you play?

Mr. LOVE: I was Old Man in Ford - or the Man in Ford, which is (unintelligible)…

MARTIN: Yeah, you don't want to age yourself.

Mr. LOVE: …dispatches. So I'm the guy that's driving down the side of the road, gets out of the car, and quickly dispatched with a cattle stunner.

MARTIN: Wow. Did you have any acting experience, Chip?

Mr. LOVE: No, not at all. Not at all. And that's what the biggest goof is, is we went out to Los Angeles and did wardrobe and all that. And people would say, what are you doing in town? And I'd say, well, the Coens are out there and they want me to do this thing, so I'm doing it. And they would go, oh, my God, oh, my God. You know? And they were just so impressed. And I didn't fully appreciate the storm that was coming. I didn't know the Coens had this following. I mean, I knew of them, but I didn't realize it's almost cult status.

MARTIN: You just thought I don't have anything better to do. I mean, did you have to take leave from your job? You had a job.

Mr. LOVE: You know, it didn't take that long. It was one afternoon. It seemed like it was on a Wednesday, and then three-quarters of a day on Thursday, and that was it all took. And of course, that one trip to Los Angeles which was over the weekend. But when they asked me - my grandmother was an extra in "Giant," which was a film that was done here in the '50s. And so I kind of, you know, knew what it meant, you know, for the family later on. It would be kind of fun to watch.

And so I remember telling him, I said, you know, well, I'm not an actor. I was in "The Wizard of Oz" in high school. And they said, perfect.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: When you saw - you saw yourself get killed on the screen. I imagine you went and saw this movie. Was that a bit weird?

Mr. LOVE: Well, any time you see yourself on the big screen when that's not your line of work, it's weird. And, you know, I think everybody looks in the mirror, looks at a photograph of theirselves and finds things they wish that weren't there, and when you're on the big screen it's times 50.

MARTIN: Yeah. And did you get paid for this little stint?

Mr. LOVE: Yeah, you know, they did. They paid me. And I remember telling them, I said, hey, you guys don't have to pay me. I'm just doing this for fun. And they go, oh, we wish we didn't, but they make us.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LOVE: But yeah, they paid a little bit. It wasn't enough to quit my day job, that's for sure.

MARTIN: Okay. We're going to bring in now, David Williams. "There Will Be Blood" was actually filmed on your property, on your ranch. And you ended up in that movie too, right? What was your role?

Mr. DAVID WILLIAMS (Resident of Marfa, Texas; Extra, "There Will Be Blood"; Executive Producer, "There Will Be Blood"): Yes, good morning. Well, I was the role of the foreman of one of the oil crews.


Mr. WILLIAMS: And it was kind of strange, the way it started. We were out there working on - working with the movie set, building it. And Paul Anderson comes up to me one day and he says, hey, David, I need your help. And I say, well, sure, what's going on? And he said, I need you to be in the movie. And I was just kind of, you know, stood back, and, yeah, well, sure, I'll try.

MARTIN: 'Cause you had already been - you have a big role in this movie. You had already been named as the executive producer, right?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Well, that came later, as well.



Is that because they used your ranch so darn much?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Well, that - part of that, yeah. And all the work that we did for 'em, you know, helping 'em build the set, and set the locations up, and everything else.

MARTIN: I have to ask - I'll ask David first, what is Marfa like now? Is it any different? I guess you've had movies coming in and out of there for a while.

Mr. WILLIAMS: We have, but, you know, it really hasn't changed Marfa. You know, Marfa's been changing a little bit with the art community moving in. We have a lot of new art galleries and different things like that.

MARTIN: Is that a result of the Hollywood interest in your town?

Mr. WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so. That's an interest that was started, you know, in the '60s - or actually the '70s, when Donald Judd moved in here. And, you know, he set up an art foundation and what not, and it just, over the years, it's kind of grown in interest.

STEWART: It seems like it might be the other way around, like maybe Hollywood followed the artists.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Kind of, yeah, probably so. But still, they've actually filmed several movies here, so Marfa was known about.

MARTIN: A lot of these directors say this place has this unique landscape, this really desolate landscape that's good for these films. What do you see when you look out there? I'll ask Chip. What do you think about?

Mr. LOVE: Well, I'm a cattle rancher, so what I see is I say that's good cow country. But it is beautiful. And I never took for granted what a wonderful opportunity and blessing it was to work in such a beautiful place. And I'm sure David would agree with me. It's as pretty a landscape as you can have, and it's provided a living for our family for a hundred years, even though I have a day job at the bank.

But I think it's good agricultural land. It's beautiful to the eyes. It has a lot of broad appeal for a lot of people. So I suspect more and more people will come out and want to see what we enjoy everyday.

MARTIN: Finally, real quick, you guys going to watch the Oscars on Sunday night?

Mr. LOVE: David?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, I think so. I mean, you know, we're not going to have a big party or anything. But we'll be there watching 'cause we're interested in seeing who wins, you know.

MARTIN: Okay. Chip?

Mr. LOVE: Yeah, you know, I don't have any plans. Strangely enough, the Oscars aren't a big part of Marfa's cultural life, so there's no big parties to go to. Maybe you-all can come down and throw us one.

MARTIN: Hey, I like it. I like the sound of that. Chip Love and David Williams, both of Marfa, Texas, thanks, you guys.

Mr. LOVE: Thank you.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Thank you.

MARTIN: You take care.

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