The Coen Brothers Say They're Writing A "Sandal Movie" Set In Ancient Rome

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by Kevin Jagernauth
December 3, 2013 9:00 AM
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“You always hesitate to mention these things when you are in the middle of them, because sometimes they just go in a drawer and never surface again and then people ask 'what ever happened to that thing' for the next 20 years," Joel Coen said earlier this fall at the Telluride Film Festival, before mentioning he and Ethan Coen were writing a movie about an opera singer. So while any news about what they're working on next is pretty exciting, just bear in mind that plans change, creative inspiration could elsewhere and financing could be tough to come by.

That said, while the Coens haven't been shy about dipping into various period settings ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "The Man Who Wasn't There," "A Serious Man," "The Hudsucker Proxy," "True Grit," "Inside Llewyn Davis") it seems that they are eager to go even more further back than any of those films. The Associated Press recently caught up with writer/director siblings and revealed they are penning a movie set in "ancient Rome." But of course, the playful brothers don't offer up much beyond that. 

"It's like: Would you ever do a sandal movie?" Joel laughed about the genesis of the script.

"It's big. We're interested in the big questions. And we don't (expletive) around with subtext. This one especially," Ethan said. "It's not like our piddly 'A Serious Man.'" With Joel adding they "chickened-out" with that movie, it seems they are going for broke (existentially?) with this one.

"We hadn't grown up," Ethan adds. "In that respect, OK, we have matured. We're ready to answer the big questions now."

Of course, in the hands of the Coens, a movie set in ancient Rome tackling big questions could result in anything and we'll have to see if we ever hear of this one again. Still, it's one that's fascinating to ponder for now.

But plenty of life questions are explored in "Inside Llewyn Davis" which opens in limited release this Friday.

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More: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Coen Brothers

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5 Comments

  • daniel | December 3, 2013 12:53 PMReply

    I don't NEED Santana Abraxas!

  • DG | December 3, 2013 12:06 PMReply

    Caligula biopic? From the Coens that could be epic and darkly funny

  • BradZuhl | December 3, 2013 10:27 AMReply

    Could this be "Hail Caesar" that they're finally writing? It would involve sandals and ancient Rome, in a sideways kind of way. Here's info from Wikipedia: "A project which has been mooted for several years is Hail Caesar, the third of the so-called Numbskull trilogy, a comedy starring George Clooney as a matinee idol making a biblical epic. However in an interview for the Los Angeles Times in February 2008, the Coens said that it did not exist as a script but only as an idea."

  • j | December 3, 2013 9:48 AMReply

    I really liked A SERIOUS MAN. I wonder why they think they chickened out with it? I thought they did anything but.

  • JC | December 3, 2013 9:54 AM

    They're just kidding around. They usually do that in interviews cause they don't take themselves too seriously.

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