It's not particularly a new idea that the Coen brothers' next will be a project titled "Hail Caesar," as Deadline is claiming "exclusively." But we haven't written about it around these parts yet, so let's do that…
I'm actually coming off a Coen binge in recent months. After what was one of the filmmaker siblings' absolute greatest achievements, "Inside Llewyn Davis," I felt a desire to dig back through the catalogue. A number of their films I had not actually seen in some time, so it was good to explore them again. These guys simply remain on another level, and it started right out of the gate with "Blood Simple" in 1985.
"Hail Caesar" will tell the story of a Hollywood fixer in the 1950s who works for the studios and protects the stars. So immediately, there is a whiff of "Barton Fink" here, the Coens' masterful, esoteric Palme d'Or winner from 1991 that remains one of the highlights of their career. Deadline is comparing the central character, Eddie Manniz, to '50s PI Fred Otash, and notes that the material will deal in the studios' internal security concerns, aiming to keep a certain fresh image for the public.
This is right in the Coens' purview. Many of their films often deal with dark or seedy underbellies and the concealment of not-so-clean behavior behind a devilishly squeaky facade. That's in both the macro and the micro, whether an element of plot or character.
Again, the news of this likely being the Coens' next was already out there back in December when my colleague Anne Thompson questioned the pair about the script. Joel indicated at the time that there was a good possibility it would be their next film, so there's nothing particularly additive here, but it will be interesting to see what tone the script takes.
Generally it seems the Coens maintain an even keel and never get bogged down in one tone or another. "Barton Fink" was followed by "The Hudsucker Proxy." Then we got "Fargo," but then we got "The Big Lebowski." "The Man Who Wasn't There" was followed by "Intolerable Cruelty," and it was "Burn After Reading" that came on the heels of Oscar winner "No Country for Old Men."
Basically, they tend to cleanse the palette with something (comparatively) broad when they've cranked out something so deeply and richly felt as an "Inside Llewyn Davis." The genius of the Coens is that even those broad strokes tend to carry more weight than a run of the mill comedy, so I would expect "Hail Caesar" to tilt closer to zany on their general spectrum.
Indeed, George Clooney has long been thought to star in the film, and he once said it would round out an "idiot" trilogy with two of his other collaborations with the duo: "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Intolerable Cruelty." Though I'd say "Burn After Reading" qualifies in such a trio more than the latter, but I digress.
Okay, lightning round. Top five Coen brothers films:
1. "A Serious Man" (2009)
2. "Inside Llewyn Davis" (2013)
3. "Fargo" (1996)
4. "Barton Fink" (1991)
5. "No Country for Old Men" (2005)
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Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
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