The Coen Bros. – Joel and Ethan – are among that rarified group of filmmakers whose every project is eagerly anticipated with the assumption of excellence. This writing and directing team have been producing the highest quality cinema for over thirty years, and have almost never put a foot wrong. Inevitably, their work attracts the most interesting and talented casts and, though they often collaborate with particular performers regularly, they never shy away from adding new people to their routine roster. Their next film, Hail, Caesar! is no exception.
Set amid the Hollywood studio system of the 1950s, Hail, Caesar! follows Eddie Mannix – a ‘fixer’ whose own talents are tested when a star disappears during filming. George Clooney makes his fourth Coen Bros. appearance (after O Brother Where Art Thou, Intolerable Cruelty and Burn After Reading) in the lead role as Mannix, and will be supported by fellow Coen Bros favourites Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men, True Grit) and Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading). Jonah Hill (22 Jump Street), Ralph Fiennes (Skyfall) and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) will also feature, in their first Coen Bros. movie.
New additions have now been made to the cast, including David Krumholtz (Numb3rs), Patrick Fischler (Californication) and Fisher Stevens (Lost) – playing screenwriters, who are also communists.
The film, due begin shooting in November, will be comedic in nature – as is often the case with these filmmakers. Their protagonist’s name may sound familiar, however, because Eddie Mannix was, in fact, a real person – who has been depicted on film before. Hail, Caesar! seems to offer a more general look at the life, times and experiences of Mannix – which are fascinating, given that he went from being an amusement park bouncer to General Manager and Vice President of MGM.
The 2006 film Hollywoodland, however, presented a somewhat darker chapter of his later years, when he found himself associated with the untimely death of TV Superman George Reeves, after the actor had an affair with Mannix’s wife, Toni. That version of Eddie Mannix was portrayed by Bob Hoskins, so it will be very interesting to watch Clooney’s portrayal of the same man, within the frame of a Coen Bros. script.
As the supporting cast continues to swell with equally great names, Hail, Caesar! simply cannot hit our screens soon enough.