The Coen Brothers Get Serious


Academy Award-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen will write, produce, and direct their next two films for Focus Features and Working Title Films. The two projects are A Serious Man and the dark spy comedy Burn After Reading. The latter feature will star Academy Award winners George Clooney and Frances McDormand; Brad Pitt has newly joined the cast, and production is set to begin in late summer. Focus CEO James Schamus and Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner made the announcement today.

The Coens are currently completing post-production on the feature No Country for Old Men, which world-premieres at next month’s Cannes International Film Festival. Clooney is currently in production on Leatherheads, which he is directing and starring in. As star and executive producer, McDormand has just begun filming in the U.K. for Focus on Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which also stars Amy Adams for director Bharat Nalluri. Pitt will soon be seen with Mr. Clooney in Ocean’s 13, as well as in The Assassination of Jesse James, and is currently filming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Bevan and Fellner, who will executive-produce the two films, have had a long association with the Coens; Fargo (which won Oscars for McDormand as Best Actress and for the Coens in the Original Screenplay category), The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (for which Mr. Clooney won a Golden Globe Award), and The Man Who Wasn’t There were all made by the Coens with Working Title.

Focus president of production John Lyons has also previously collaborated with the Coen brothers extensively, as casting director on their features Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo and The Big Lebowski.

Schamus said, “Joel and Ethan are the gold standard in American filmmaking. To have the chance to make not one but two films with them – along with our friends at Working Title – makes all of us at Focus proud.”

Bevan and Fellner commented, “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the Coen Brothers anew, and to be partnered again with James and his team at Focus, on two such especially exciting new projects.”