The Coen Brothers have covered almost every genre imaginable in their storied careers as one of the most acclaimed writer/director duos in Hollywood history, but they’ve always had a particular fascination for old-fashioned “screwball” comedy – particularly when paired with mischievous frequent collaborator George Clooney. Their newest film together, Hail Caesar!, is a Golden Age Hollywood satire set to follow the so-called “Numbskull Trilogy” that included O Brother, Where Art Thou, Intolerable Cruelty, and Burn After Reading – with Clooney as a clueless movie star wrapped up in a bizarre conspiracy.
The film, which releases February 5th, has now debuted a new clip online which features Josh Brolin’s Eddie Mannix giving Clooney’s character some tough love. You can watch that clip, above (via Yahoo! Movies).
In the film, Clooney portrays Baird Whitlock, a famously brainless yet bankable movie star struggling his way through prestige-picture about Julius Caesar when he suddenly vanishes – abducted, supposedly, by a mysterious group called “The Future” who demand $100,000 from the cash-strapped studio for his release. Brolin’s Mannix, a problem-solving studio “fixer,” is conscripted to either collect the necessary funds or solve the mystery himself, and enlists other clients including Channing Tatum as a young actor and Scarlett Johansson as a star of Esther Williams-style aquatic musicals to assist him.
Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Ralph Feinnes, Jonah Hill and Christopher Lambert also star, along with action hero Dolph Lundgren in an unknown capacity as “Soviet Submarine Captain.” Details of the film’s plot have been kept largely a secret apart from the general premise, but some elements of the setup appear similar to the true story of the Marie McDonald scandal; in which a popular actress and pin-up girl of the 1940s famously known as “The Body” was said to have staged her own elaborate kidnapping and ransom.
While noir-tinged satires are familiar territory for the Coens, Hail Caesar! marks their first full-blown return to the subject of Golden Age Hollywood since 1991’s Barton Fink; the celebrated screenwriting/murder-mystery feature that helped establish them as serious players with critics and audiences. The genre is (expectedly) always a popular subject for filmmakers, but doesn’t always connect with modern mainstream audiences: The historical drama Trumbo largely failed to make an impact beyond Awards Season voters earlier this year, while the loose “Making of Psycho” biopic Hitchcock received mixed reviews and largely didn’t connect with audiences some years ago. Hail Caesar! will likely rely on the box-office drawing power of its stars (anyone who’s anyone in Hollywood wants to work with the Coens) and interest in the subject of behind-the-scenes moviemaking drama, which has reignited in the age of social-media gossip and 24 hour entertainment news channels.
In recent years, the Coens have flexed their muscle beyond their own material as authors on non-satirical screenplays for other high-profile filmmakers; contributing the script for Angelina Jolie’s WWII prisoner-of-war epic Unbroken last year and for Steven Spielberg’s widely-praised Tom Hanks Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies in 2015. The later film has been nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay. While the duo consistently keeps their upcoming works-in-progress close to the vest, they had previously stated that a film in an unspecified genre surrounding an opera singer was in the planning stages during the same period as Hail Caesar!, and could be their next project.
Clooney, last seen in the Summer 2015 Disney flop Tomorrowland, will next appear as a TV financial show host taken hostage in the upcoming thriller Money Monster directed by Jodie Foster. Brolin, who provides the voice and motion-capture performance for the Marvel supervillain Thanos, is expected to appear in any number of upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe features including Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and the two-part Infinity War movies featuring The Avengers. He recently appeared as one of the leads in the 2015 action biopic Everest.
Hail, Caesar! opens in U.S. theaters on February 5th, 2016.
Source: Yahoo! Movies