When the Joel and Ethan Coen project The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs was first announced, it was as a six-part original anthology series for Netflix. But, as often the case in the films of the Coen Brothers, things can take a turn in an unexpected direction, and Ballad is now an anthology feature film that will be making its world premier at the Venice Film Festival at the end of next month.
The film will still be keeping the original series’ anthology format idea, with the festival synopsis for the film reading simply “Saddle up for six tales about the American frontier.” Coen Brothers semi-regular Tim Blake Nelson stars as the titular singing cowboy Scruggs, though if he is just a framing device or factors into each of the stories in some way remains to be seen. Liam Neeson, Tom Waites and Zoe Kazan will also be appearing the film, but their involvement is as murky as Nelson’s.
“We’ve always loved anthology movies, especially those films made in Italy in the Sixties, which set side-by-side the work of different directors on a common theme,” the Coen’s said in a statement. Given that the Brothers are directing the entire film themselves, this suggests that the style of each of the stories in the film could vary in tone as much as their overall filmography does.
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs will still make its way to Netflix by the end of the year, but only after a short theatrical run to qualify it for Academy Award consideration.