The Coen Brothers filmed No Country For Old Men on location in New Mexico, using mostly southwestern actors like Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones. They did excuse Spaniard Javier Bardem and Scot Kelly MacDonald. She does such an impeccable southern accent, you'd never know unless you saw Trainspotting.
Kelly MacDonald Talks No Country for Old Men
"Talking, really, in the accent, that helped," said MacDonald. "Their only concern was about keeping it going but by doing a few scenes, they could hear that I could. I worked on it before I went in for the audition. Before I met with them, there were a couple of hoops I had to go through. Ellen Chenowith the casting director, I worked with on the accent before I'd go and see her. Like 45 minutes on the phone to my friend who's a dialogue coach in my hotel bathroom because I happened to be in New York not for any film reasons. I was there for a friend's wedding and my agents asked me if I was available. So I phoned her up, went in and then when she said I could meet Joel and Ethan, then I talked to her again. From the dialogue, from the script, [author] Cormac [McCarthy]'s writing is just so specific. So from just reading the dialogue, I was already in kind of the right ballpark. You can't help but know what these people sound like."
MacDonald plays the wife of a hunter who steals money from a murder scene, then has to elude the killer coming back for it. He sends his wife away for safety, but there is more to her than just supporting her man. "I just thought this girl was someone that I really like. She wasn't obvious. She wasn't your typical trailer trash kind of character. At first you think she's one thing and by the end of the film, you realize that she's not quite as naïve as she might come across. And it's not like she's just following her husband blindly. She goes along with his plan but it's because there's a real love there and a real respect. It's not from any sort of idea that she's the little woman."
No Country for Old Men
The film actually changes the ending of the book to make her a tad more empowered. "The ending of the book is different. She reacts more in the way I react. She kind of falls apart. In the film she's been through so much and she can't lose any more. It's just she's got this quiet acceptance of it."
Since most of her scenes with costars are over the phone, MacDonald had some weird experiences providing her side of the conversation. "The most weird time actually was my phone call with Tommy Lee Jones because I had gone back home. I had finished filming at that point and the time difference, they were in New Mexico and I was in London. I had to stay up until four in the morning to do the scene with Tommy on the phone. My husband was really excited about it. He said, 'I'm going to film it.' He was going to get the camcorder but he bowed out, went to bed so I was on my own going, 'It's not that exciting.'"