×

Coen Brothers Confirm Theatrical Release for ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’

The Coen brothers confirmed Friday that Netflix had agreed to a theatrical release for their latest film, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

“Theatrical release was important to us, and they were happy to accommodate us,” Ethan Coen told reporters at the Venice Film Festival. “And I don’t even know if it was to accommodate us or their plans coincided with ours….It’s important to us that people who want to see it on a big screen are able to.”

The anthology Western is having its world premiere on the Lido on Friday. It’s one of six films that Netflix has in Venice, which has embraced the streaming giant in its programming.

The Coens said they made no artistic decisions differently because the movie had the backing of Netflix. Joel Coen said he welcomed “different companies with different business models and different ways that they exploit the product.”

“The fact that there are companies that are financing and making movies outside of the mainstream is very important,” he said. “It’s what keeps the art form alive. So the more the merrier.”

“Buster Scruggs” represents material gathered over a quarter of a century. “The stories were written over a period of 25 years. We would write these short stories and not really know what to do with them and put them in a drawer,” Joel said. “Then we decided to make them all together.”

No single story thread ties the six separate chapters together, which were originally intended for television rather than the big screen.

“I think they are complete when they all live alongside each other,” said actor Harry Melling, who stars in one of the episodes. “They do accumulate in weird and wonderful ways.”

“Even though they were completely different in mood and subject matter and sort of even generically within the sort of loose idea of Westerns, they were all kind of vaguely about the same thing and [we thought] it would be interesting to put them all together,” Joel said. “Nobody’s doing that kind of thing anymore, anthology movies, and we thought it would be kind of fun to bring it back.”

Tim Blake Nelson, who plays the character Buster Scruggs, complimented the Coens on their painstaking attention to detail, evident in the opening chapter, in which Scruggs sings the song “Cool Water.”

“Any filmmaker I’ve ever met…would’ve shot that at one place, and the production would’ve pretty much demanded that, because it’s one song; you shoot that in one place,” he said. “They shot it in three different places over three days, that one song, because of absolutely specific backdrop images that they wanted. It’s that meticulous.”

More Film

  • Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

    Film Review: 'TINY: The Life of Erin Blackwell'

    “Streetwise,”  the classic and haunting 1984 documentary about homeless street kids in Seattle, is a movie that’s now 35 years old. But for anyone who has seen it, the children it’s about — drifters, hustlers, squatters, thieves, prostitutes — remain frozen in time. And none of them was ever more memorable than Tiny, the 14-year-old [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Revenge Motive May Have Sparked Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

    Japanese media is speculating that revenge was the motivation for the arson attack on Kyoto Animation which killed 33 people on Thursday. Investigative sources quoted by Jiji Press on Friday said that the man in custody had a grudge against the studio. “Since [the studio] stole my novel, I poured out the liquid and set [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate Gabriel Luna

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Cast Proud of Latinx Representation in Latest Installment

    The stars of the Tim Miller-directed “Terminator: Dark Fate” stormed the stage of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Thursday, but it wasn’t until after the panel — which included appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton — that Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta reflected on what makes the upcoming installment in the [...]

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Kyoto Arson Attack: Animation Community Mourns Colleagues

    Thursday’s deadly attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studios left many in the animation community shocked and horrified by the loss of 33 of their colleagues. Another 36 people were injured in the attack, which was Japan’s deadliest ever. A suspect was arrested after pouring a flammable liquid inside the building, which caught fire and trapped [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's '10 Double Zero' Completes Financing

    In today’s film news roundup, financing has been secured for a Nicolas Cage police drama, feature drama “Topside” is unveiled and the late Tom Snyder is getting a tribute from his daughter. FINANCING COMPLETED DCR Finance Corp. has signed a deal to complete the financing for Nicolas Cage’s upcoming crime drama “10 Double Zero.” The [...]

  • Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy Team

    Matt Damon Teams with 'Spotlight' Director Tom McCarthy on New Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Even as buzz grows for his upcoming race car drama “Ford v. Ferrari,” Matt Damon looks to keep the pedal to the metal: the A-lister is set to star in the Participant Media feature film “Stillwater” with Tom McCarthy directing. Damon attached himself in May, and the package was quickly acquired by Participant, who previously [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content