The Coen brothers say that Netflix was “happy to accommodate” a theatrical release for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
The Western anthologym which initially began life as a TV series for Netflix, features six tales about the American frontier told through the unique and incomparable voice of Joel and Ethan Coen. Each chapter tells a distinct story about the American West, with a versatile cast led by Tim Blake Nelson as Buster.
The project utimately emerged as a movie, with all six stories varying enough in length to fit a traditional feature length. The stories, though, have been in the works for some time, Ethan and Joel Coen revealed at the press conference for the film’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival yesterday.
“The stories were written over a period of 25 years,” explained Ethan. “We put them in a drawer but finally decided to put them all together.”
Indeed, the script for the opening segment featureing Buster Scruggs was first read by Blake Nelson back in 2002, only a couple of years after he starred in the Coens’ O Brother Where Art Thou?.
The decision to go for an anthology movie format stemmed from their love of old-school anthology films: “There isn’t a market for shorts but we like anthology movies of the ’60s and ’70s like Boccaccio 70…. Nobody is doing that kind of thing, anthology movies. We thought it’d be fun to bring it back.
The end result is precisely the kind of project that might not exist without the support of Netflix. Both Coens welcomed Netflix’s role in the film industry.
“The fact there are companies that are financing and making movies outside the mainstream is very important,” said Joel. “It’s what keeps the art form alive. The more the merrier. Different ways are important. It’s healthier for the business.”
They also confirmed that the film will get a limited theatrical release in the US on 16th November.
“A theatrical release was important to us, but they [Netflix] were happy to accommodate us,” Joel commented. “That might have been their plan from the beginning. It’s getting a theatrical release in the US. “That’s great. It’s important that people who want to see it on the big screen are able to.”
A release date worldwide on the streaming service has not yet been announced.