The Coens aren’t necessarily strangers to television. Their iconic 1996 Oscar winner Fargo inspired FX’s excellent anthology series of the same name, which they executive produce. And though they’ve never written nor directed anything outside the cinema, that’s going to change soon. They’re jumping into the world of peak TV with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a limited Western series which they’ll write and direct.
Details are limited otherwise, but Variety (via Vulture) reports it’s an “anthology event” set in the Old West, obviously, and it’ll intertwine six different storylines. Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Television is involved, and they intend to approach the project in a way that’ll combine TV with the theatrical. Whether that’s literal or simply metaphorical is unclear.
The scope of the project was considered “too challenging” to put inside one film, which is how it became the genesis of a mini-series. They intend to shoot it as a mini-series, though theatrical distribution is apparently not out of the question right now. Festival run, maybe? If it’s from the Coens, it’s sure to look beautiful. It would be nice to see it on the big screen, if in some form or another. Hopefully, Ellison and her team figure something out. They apparently having something similar to the original conception of The Dark Tower in mind, which will find different installments both on television and in theaters. Good luck.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs serves as the Coens’ follow-up to last year’s Hail, Caesar! They also wrote the screenplay for George Clooney’s upcoming directorial effort Suburbicon, which should hit theaters this year. It’s unclear how far along they are with this project, but they’re moving forward full speed ahead. All the best. Here’s hoping the world of television treats them as kindly as the cinema has these past few decades.