Written by By Theo Keith, CNN
Move over, Amazon Studios and Netflix: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence may be coming for your crown.
The two Hollywood heavyweights star in the upcoming Netflix original film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” directed by Joel and Ethan Coen — the filmmaking team behind a number of cinematic classics, including the Coen Brothers’ Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men.”
The film, which is set in the Old West, is believed to be one of three films the Coen brothers will make next year. The third has not yet been announced.
Set in five different time periods, the six-part anthology features a dozen different actors, some of whom are accustomed to the Coen brothers’ more familiar milieu (Reese Witherspoon in “Wild,” Tom Waits in “True Grit”) while others — such as Joel Coen’s longtime collaborator Tim Blake Nelson in “The Gal Who Got Rattled” — are unfamiliar.
“We love the fact that we are playing in different time periods, we love the fact that we have different casts, so we have this opportunity to do what we do and make something new that’s not in any way predicated by the Coen Brothers,” Ethan Coen told The Hollywood Reporter in April, when the Coens first announced “Buster Scruggs.”
Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Liam Neeson, Mary J. Blige, Zoe Kazan, Ben Foster, Bill Heck, Chris Rock, Brendan Gleeson, James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Zoe Kazan, James Franco, and James Franco all also star in the film, which is slated to premiere on Netflix on Christmas Day.
Set in a time when everyone goes by their first name and names change with each generation, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” follows a diverse set of characters after they join a band of pickers named the Black Riders and journey out West.
For fans of the Coen brothers’ work, the fact that the new film features diverse casts — Oscar nominees Witherspoon, Wiig and Damon star in “Wild,” while Witherspoon’s “Mean Girls” co-star Hillman County native Salma Hayek joins the “True Grit” leading ladies for “Bright,” the most recent Coen brothers release — should come as no surprise.
“You know, they’re mixing it up. That’s kind of the secret to what makes us so successful as a franchise,” says Ethan Coen. “And whether you want to or not, you know that we’re going to make them no matter what. We try to make them with the same kind of guys — that’s all we’re gonna say — but they’re all told to shoot it like ‘People vs. Larry Flynt’ and not to shoot it like ‘Fargo.'”