The bad news is that the Coen brothers are not actually making their first-ever TV series. Good news is, that TV series has been turned into a western anthology movie that is heading to Netflix later this year. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was initially announced as a series for the streaming service. However, along the way, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen decided to turn this thing into a movie instead, which should find itself right in the heart of the awards season conversation.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is now set to make its worldwide debut at the Venice Film Festival, which kicks off at the end of August and has been seen in recent years as sort of the unofficial kickoff to awards season. In addition to the festival debut, Netflix will give the movie the required theatrical released needed to quality for The Academy Awards. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen had this to say in a joint statement about their new movie.
“We’ve always loved anthology movies, especially those films made in Italy in the Sixties which set side-by-side the work of different directors on a common theme. Having written an anthology of Western stories we attempted to do the same, hoping to enlist the best directors working today. It was our great fortune that they both agreed to participate.”
Plot details are virtually non-existent for the movie at this point, but the series was originally going to tell six different tales and it’s being reported that the movie will still maintain the same anthology structure. The cast includes the likes of Tim Blake Nelson, who plays the titular Buster Scruggs, as well as Liam Neeson, Zoe Kazan and Tom Waits. Though, little is known about what roles they will play in these various stories.
This movie marks a big change for the Coens. Not only is this movie heading to Netflix, but it’s the first time they’ve ever shot a movie on digital. There are still plenty of familiar elements in play. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, who previously worked with the duo on Inside Llewyn Davis, worked on the movie. They also brought back regular collaborators in the form of production designer Jess Gonchor, costume designer Mary Zophres and composer Carter Burwell.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s last movie, Hail, Caesar!, though not a total bomb, was something of a misfire for the duo, having grossed just $63 million at the box office and scoring absolutely no awards season recognition. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs will be in competition at the Venice Film Festival, which runs from August 29 through September 8, so we should have a much better idea of how the western is going to be received around that time. Netflix has not yet announced when the Coen’s latest will drop for subscribers. You can check out the first photo below, which doesn’t tell us too much but does give us a look at Tim Blake Nelson’s character. This news comes to us courtesy of Variety.