Coen Brothers' Western TV Anthology Details Revealed

The Coen Brothers on the Hail, Caesar! set

More details emerge regarding the filming and format of the Coen Brother's latest project. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a made-for-TV production and marks their first foray into small-screen directing instead of producing. There has been little information about the format and content for the project, but some recent news sheds a little light onto what we can expect.

Ever since the clever noir Blood Simple in 1984, Joel and Ethan Coen have consistently surprised and entertained with their feature films. From the screwball comedy of Raising Arizona, to the offbeat crime thriller Fargo, and the description-defying The Big Lebowski, they've always delivered something different and exceptionally watchable. Their previous film was Hail, Caesar! from last year, but The Ballad of Buster Scruggs will return them to the pure Western genre, which is something they recreated successfully in the True Grit remake with Jeff Bridges. This latest project was originally announced back in January as a partnership with Annapurna Television that would combine their cinematic approach with a televisual format. The whole production was scripted by the Brothers from an original idea and they were keen on directing it.

Related: Ballad of Buster Scruggs Filming Start

Originally it was announced as a series (or a mini-series) consisting of six different episodes, each with a standalone story in the Old West. However, news on the production reported recently by the Albuquerque Journal suggests that this has now evolved into "a feature-length omnibus consisting of six separate stories," which would indicate more of a TV "event" than a full-fledged series. The report also provides the very first synopses of the tales that will be told and are summarized as follows:

"The first of the six is about a singing cowboy and is the title story. The second, "Near Algodones", is about a high-plains drifter whose own fecklessness dogs his attempts at bank robbery and cattle driving. The third, "Meal Ticket", follows an actor and impresario of a traveling show. The fourth, "All Gold Canyon", is about a prospector who happily finds a gold seam but then unhappily finds an evil encroacher. The fifth, "The Gal Who Got Rattled",  follows two trail bosses on the Oregon Trail and a woman on the wagon train who needs the help of one of them and who might be a marriage prospect for the other. Lastly, "The Mortal Remains", is about the five very different passengers on a stagecoach of mysterious destination."

Fargo Coen Brothers

Also adding to that, the report confirms that it will film largely in the Santa Fe area and that principal photography will take place from mid-July until the end of September. And while there is no news of any "named" actors on the cast list, it is mentioned that a large amount of acting and filmmaking talent is being sourced directly from New Mexico.

There are certainly still some questions as to the final format of the production, and as to where and when it will eventually air. But it can't be denied that the new information regarding the various plots seems to be promising and pure Coen material. It's very likely that we'll get some fine rollicking Western tales from the Brothers, that may be very close in spirit to True Grit. We'll keep you updated as further details regarding The Ballad of Buster Scruggs are released.

Next: Coen Brothers Direct Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl LI Promo

Source: Albuquerque Journal

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