An exclusive report from Deadline announced today that the two-headed filmmaker formally recognized as Joel and Ethan Coen has taken on a new project. Warner Bros. has tapped the Coen Bros. to reshape Ross McDonald’s 1966 crime novel Black Money into a workable script, with the option to direct still on the table as well.
The novel explores territory all too familiar in the Coen oeuvre: stewed into a rich fricassee of red herrings and noir-inflected plot convolutions, a weary stiff trying to remain upstanding in an ethically sickly world (in this instance, private eye Lew Archer) navigates the Californian circles of high society and gutter destitution. Archer agrees to investigate the magnificently named Felix Cervantes, the new beau of a jealous client’s ex. As searches for truth that take place in California often do, his sleuthing unearths a vast conspiracy linking misdeeds from across the Atlantic. While it’s by no means unheard of for the Coens to drum up a script and keep out of the director’s chair — they did just that with Michael Hoffman’s 2012 crime comedy Gambit, and the brothers had a hand in the script for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Bridge Of Spies as well — this milieu lands directly in the filmmakers’ wheelhouse. Some of the highest highs in the Coen filmography have reworked the components of film noir to suit outlandish new purposes, whether that’s the grimly comic homespun morality of Fargo, Burn After Reading‘s transcendent idiocy, or No Country For Old Men‘s pitch-black streak of stoic nihilism.
But before the Coens get jump into Black Money, they’ll have to complete work on their currently gestating picture Hail, Caesar! The eye-popping cast list reads like a role call at the greatest dinner party of all time; George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Jonah Hill, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand, and Dolph Lundgren have all turned out for this Tinseltown comedy about “fixer” Eddie Mannix, a PR flack who scurried around the periphery of the spotlight minimizing the damage of A-lister scandal. The film’s set for a February 5, 2016 release (firmly planting this one outside of awards season), and so this should be sufficient to sate hardcore Coenheads’ hunger for some time.
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Featured Image: AP Photo/Stefano Paltera