Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand lived together as young aspiring actresses before their careers took off.

The veteran stars met through their ex-boyfriends and shared an apartment in the early 1980s, while Frances attended the Yale School of Drama as a graduate student earning her Master of Fine Arts degree.

"My boyfriend and Fran’s boyfriend were best friends," Holly recalls to Vulture. "I met mine doing a play at the Repertory Theater of St. Louis, and then I came back to New York. He said, 'Hey, my best friend is going to Yale, let’s visit.' And his girlfriend was Fran.

"The four of us hit it off, and we all moved to the North Bronx. We got two apartments, one for each couple. Then we broke up with our boyfriends and Fran moved in with me."

Holly has nothing but fond memories of her old roomie, who met her now-husband, director Joel Coen, while they shared the apartment.

"Fran’s as fabulous as she seems," gushes Hunter. "We had a blast. We stayed up there for a couple years, and then she did (Coen's debut film) Blood Simple. After that, Joel Coen sort of moved in with us and they eventually got married. It was a great chapter (in life)."

Holly and Frances went on to work together in Coen's kooky 1987 comedy Raising Arizona, which he made with his brother Ethan Coen, and Hunter reveals the directors wrote her character especially for her.

"They did (write the part for me), yeah. And oh God, I had no idea," she laughs. "Blood Simple and Raising Arizona were of the same family, but Raising Arizona was really whacked out. I thought the script was brilliant; there isn’t a syllable you want to change in the Coens’ writing. You want to memorise it absolutely as it’s written.

"Their stuff leaps off the page and enters a realm cinematically that I didn’t even know existed. But I don’t think I really understood Raising Arizona until I saw it with an audience. You need to see a comedy with a crowd."