Yesterday the Washington Post ran a piece by Neal Karlen about the Jewish heritage of St. Louis Park, Minnesota — the Minneapolis suburb that serves as an existentially hellish setting (circa 1967) for Joel and Ethan Coen‘s A Serious Man. It’s been widely reported, of course, that the Coens grew up there, but so, Karlen reports, did Senator Al Franken, N.Y. Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman and political scholar Norman J. Ornstein.

“Friedman, Franken and Ornstein all angled for parts in the picture, but the scheduling didn’t work out,” Karlen writes.

One of the most bountiful aspects of A Serious Man, I wrote last monh, is the cavalcade of grotesque faces. The ensemble cast out-grotesques Mike Leigh‘s stock troupe by a country mile. Karlen reports that an open casting-call listing for Serious Man extras stated the following: “PHYSICAL LOOK: Specific characteristics represent 1967…ASM is not a ‘glamorous’ film. WE LOVE INTERESTING FACES. The dorkier, the better!”