As some of Hollywood’s most distinguished talent continues to migrate to television and streaming projects, from actors to writers to top-dollar filmmakers, you had to wonder when some of the industry’s biggest names would join in on the fun. Your Nolans and Tarantinos will always believe in film as a specific medium, but there are scores more who stand to have more money and creative freedom developing a show for HBO or Netflix than most studios are currently interested in offering.
Joel and Ethan Coen will be the latest respected directors to dive in, with their upcoming Western project The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Developed by Annapurna Television, Scruggs has been described as a six-part omnibus series, each following a different unusual story set on the old plains. (At present, its distributor is unknown.) From gold prospectors to traveling showmen to singing cowboys and beyond, it’ll be another unique take on one of film’s oldest genres by two filmmakers who’ve arguably done more to revive the Western and its aesthetics than any others. As the series (at least, we believe it’s a series, as of this writing) prepares to begin shooting in New Mexico later in July, news about some of the short segments’ casting has started to trickle out.
While the film’s full cast is still officially unconfirmed, The Tracking Board has reported that Tim Blake Nelson will star in the titular segment about the singing cowboy, his first appearance for the Coens since O Brother, Where Art Thou?. James Franco, Stephen Root, and Ralph Ineson are said to be involved in another installment surrounding a drifter and would-be robber, Zoe Kazan is reportedly set to star in one about a wagon train, and Tyne Daly will appear in a segment concerning a mysterious stagecoach. News from the production will likely continue to emerge as principal photography begins.