No one could ever accuse the Coen Brothers of skewing predictable in their movies, and their upcoming period comedy Hail, Caesar! sounds just as bonkers and brilliant as you would hope. Dolph Lundgren, who co-stars in the pic, recently let slip some details about both his role and that of Channing Tatum’s – and what the action star had to say was highly intriguing.
Speaking with Creative Screenwriting about action movie Skin Trade (opening this Friday), Lundgren touched on his part in the movie, about a studio fixer named Eddie Mannix (George Clooney) who deals with a vast array of problems on a Hollywood backlot during one crazy day, from a knocked-up starlet to a muckraking journalist.
Lundgren is well-aware that he’s not the kind of actor you see in movies by directors like the Coen Brothers. He admitted:
It was a bit of a shocker. They called me out of nowhere a few months ago. It’s a movie set in the 1950s called Hail, Caesar! and it’s about the studio system. Basically, one of the characters is going to defect to the Soviet Union because he loves communism because they have great uniforms [Laughs]. That’s Channing Tatum’s character in the movie, and they wanted someone to play a submarine commander. I guess they wanted someone kind of iconic where the audience sees the person and says, “Holy shit!” [Laughs]. So I’m wearing a Russian fur hat and I’m on this huge submarine in Malibu. It was fun to work with them. They were very nice guys, and of course I’m a huge fan of theirs and I never expected to be in any Coen brothers movies, but I guess I am!
Well, there you have it. Lundgren could definitely pass for an intimidating Russian, which explains his casting, but the actor’s comments about Tatum add another dimension to a character who had previously been described as a “Gene Kelly type.”
Obviously, the character’s sympathies toward the Soviet Union (though apparently superficial) are a reference to Kelly’s own run-ins with the Red Scare. Kelly and others took a stand against the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) when his wife was accused of being a Communist sympathizer. Though the actor was never actually found to have any ties to Communism, he got swept up in the fever of the times along with many other people in Hollywood.
The more I hear about Hail, Caesar!, the more I can’t wait to see what the Coen Brothers have come up with this time. Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton all also star in the pic, which is set for Feb. 5 next year (a curious date, admittedly, given that February isn’t when most Oscar-favorite directors choose to release their films).