Local Actress Gets “Serious”

Miami girl Sari Lennick ended up in Minnesota -- and in a Coen Brothers flick

It's not every day a Miami girl ends up in Minnesota.

We're thinking the opposite happens much more frequently, but for Sari Lennick, moving to a place where there are interconnecting, encased walkways to keep people from growing icicles on their eyebrows was worth the frostbite.

Minne-soh-tah, after all, is the home of the two most successfully quirky filmmakers in the U.S., and when it came time for the Coen Brothers to cast their next film, Lennick, who had moved to the frosty north with her hubby after having a "nervous breakdown," happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right acting chops for the job. 

A Serious Man trailer

"I got a call saying that they were shooting a movie there," she recalled. But after 14 years off the stage, the former theater actress didn't think her chances were all that good. "Four months later, though, I got a call. I thought it was a callback, but it turned out it was to meet with the Coens because I had gotten the part. They even laughed at all my jokes."

And no, Lennick isn't the "third Jew from the left," as she initially assumed. Rather, in "A Serious Man," she plays the lead female role as June Gopnik, wife of physics professor Larry Gopnik. June announces that she is leaving her husband for Sy Ableman, one of Larry's more "pompous acquaintances," as the film's website describes him. Round out Larry's life with a deadbeat brother, two not-so angelic children and a tenure-sabotaging co-worker, and it's pure Coen Brothers.

And, in true "Fargo" form -- pure Minnesota, too. So Minnesota that Lennick had to chop off 13 inches of hair and dye it brown, as well as gain 50 pounds, to take on the Midwestern housewife persona.

"When I was working, it was fine, when I wasn't, though, it was difficult," Lennick admitted. "At the wrap party, Joel said he got the last of the footage back and I asked, 'Does that mean I can go back to blonde now?' Joel told me that only me and ["No Country For Old Men's"] Javier Bardem were the only ones who complained."

"I wouldn't do it for James Cameron," joked Lennick of her transformation. "Okay, maybe I would."

The film makes its premier in South Florida tonight, and Lennick is back in her hometown for a little r&r. Her parents, she said, have seen the movie four times. And they'll all see it again, together, this weekend.

But Lennick had more pressing things than seeing herself on the big screen on her agenda when she arrived in Miami last night.

"Joe's Stone Crab and a martini. Immediately."


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