Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton to Play Varying Degrees of Crazy in Coens’ ‘Hail Caesar’

Tilda Swinton in Burn After Reading

Focus Features

2011 and 2012 were tough years. Before then, things were plentiful, as every year a new Coen Brothers film would release right on schedule. No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, A Serious Man and True Grit. Truly, it was a great time to be alive. But the next two years after True Grit were a desert. No Coen films. No Coen anything. Not a single trace of dryly broad (or broadly dry?) comic sensibilities, nor the gentle pop of John Goodman’s vocal chords exploding after one screamed line too many.

Those were dark times. And when Inside Llewyn Davis swooped in to remind us that Joel and Ethan Coen were both still alive and still capable of putting story to celluloid, things got a little lighter. But still the question remained: when would the Coens return to hibernation?

We should be in the clear for now. Their latest film has progressed enough to call it quits on the Coen slumber party. It’s got a title (Hail Caesar!), two cast members (George Clooney and Josh Brolin), and a vague outline of the story. It’ll follow Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer in the moviemaking salad days of the 1950s. Mannix will have to juggle the lives and careers of various hyperactive Coen movie moguls.

And now, according to Variety, the film’s got cast member number three: Channing Tatum.

Tatum is a newcomer to the Coen fold — although if the brothers like him, he’ll have the distinction of appearing in every Coen film from now until the end of time — but his comic sensibilities are a good match for the filmmaakers. Unfortunately, Variety didn’t have any details about the role, so we’ll have to cut this one short…

And out of nowhere with the interception is The Hollywood Reporter! A mere two minutes after Variety’s story went live, they published their own story about the Coens’ latest film venture. With Tatum. And Tilda Swinton. And Ralph Fiennes. And just to rub a little dirt in Variety’s face, THR even has character descriptions for each new addition:

  • Tatum will play the Coen-verse version of Gene Kelly.
  • Swinton will play a gossip columnist with considerable sway.
  • Fiennes will play director Laurence Lorenz. With a name like “Laurence Lorenz,” he’s bound to have an inflated sense of self-worth.

All, of course, will air their grievances to Clooney’s character (or Brolin’s, if by some sudden twist of fate Clooney isn’t in the lead role) while testing the limits of how fast (and also how slowly) a human can form words.The current “fast” leader is Michael Lerner in Barton Fink, who drummed out eight single-spaced pages of WALLACE BEERY WRESTLING PICTURE in about twenty seconds. The current “slow” leader is John Turturro in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou!, who spent half the running time struggling over “Do not seek the treasure.”

Begin placing your bets now.

Adam Bellotto is a freelancer writer from Virginia who moved to California because movies are super neat. His work can also be read at Perihelion Science Fiction and Starpulse, among other places.

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