Chip Love is the manager of the Marfa National Bank in Marfa, Texas. He once had a role in his high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz, but that was about the only acting experience he had before the summer of 2006, when the Coen brothers rolled into town to shoot some scenes in No Country For Old Men. The Coens originally asked Love to help scout locations in Marfa, a sleepy town in west Texas, though they ultimately decided not to use any of his suggestions. They did, however, decide to use Love himself, enlisting the softspoken local to play a bit role in one of the film’s earliest scenes.
At the time, the directors were still looking for someone to play Anton Chigurh’s first victim — an unsuspecting man driving a Ford. They asked Love if he’d be interested, and left their script at his back door. After flipping through it, the bank manager decided to participate, because, as he explained to the A.V. Club, he was convinced that “nobody I know will ever see this movie.”
Within no time, then, Love found himself playing opposite Javier Bardem along a desolate stretch of Pinto Canyon Road. He had already been flown out to Los Angeles to prepare for the role, though he was admittedly nervous when the cameras actually began rolling, and required a few takes to get it right. “It reminded me a little bit of tee-ball,” Love told the A.V. Club. ”You know, when they guy keeps swinging and missing and everybody looks at their feet and kicks the dirt.” He eventually got it together, though, and finished the scene with a flourish.
As for Bardem, Love says he was a bit underwhelmed during their scene together, though that changed after he saw the full movie. “He was so deadpan and stern that I go, ‘Well gosh, he’s not much better than I am,’” Love said. “[But] when I saw the fabric of his whole performance put together, he was great.”
Check out an excerpt from the A.V. Club‘s interview in the video above, or read the full piece here. For more background on Marfa’s unique relationship with Hollywood — including one especially notable Miramax connection — click here.