Last we'd heard, the Coen Bros.' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs would be a six-part Netflix anthology series, an "omnibus western" with an all-star cast. Today we learn that Buster Scruggs has since transformed into a feature film, with a limited theatrical release and a Venice Film Festival premiere planned before the movie rolls out on the streaming service later this year.
"Last year, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was announced as a Netflix original series that would feature six tales about the American frontier. The project has since morphed into a feature film, though one maintaining a chaptered anthology structure. It’s set for a world premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival...
The film is expected to hit Netflix’s streaming service by year’s end along with the requisite theatrical release to qualify for Oscar consideration."
No word on why this change was made, but sounds good to us! Last year we learned general plotlines for each of Buster Scruggs' six chapters, and each of them sound like prime Coen Bros. material:
The first of the six is about a singing cowboy and is the title story.
The second, “Near Algodones,” is about a high-plains drifter whose own fecklessness dogs his attempts at bank robbery and cattle driving.
The third, “Meal Ticket,” follows an actor and impresario of a traveling show.
The fourth, “All Gold Canyon,” is about a prospector who happily finds a gold seam but then unhappily finds an evil encroacher.
The fifth, “The Gal Who Got Rattled,” follows two trail bosses on the Oregon Trail and a woman on the wagon train who needs the help of one of them and who might be a marriage prospect for the other.
Lastly, “The Mortal Remains,” about the five very different passengers on a stagecoach of mysterious destination.
The Venice Film Festival runs from August 29th through September 8th, so we'll hear our first reactions to the film somewhere in there. After that, it's anyone's guess as to when the film might see its limited theatrical release, but if the purpose there is to give the film an Oscar-qualifying run, we're guessing it'll be towards the end of the year.
Stay tuned for more on The Ballad of Buster Scruggs as it becomes available, and get hyped in the meantime: the Coen Bros. are doing another western!