Back in October George Clooney signed on to direct Suburbicon, a Coen brothers script that Clooney had been wanting to be involved with for nearly a decade. Not surprising since, as it is Coen brothers. Suburbicon takes place in the 1950s and has been described as a noir drama in the same vein as the Coen brothers 1984 debut Blood Simple.
Now that the script has its director, some names are being thrown around as potential cast members and unsurprisingly, they’re big. Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Josh Brolin are all in talks to join the cast, though no dotted lines have been signed. Interesting to note is all four (including Clooney who’ll have an acting role on top of directing) have worked with the Coen brothers before. Sony’s TriStar Pictures is the studio involved and shooting is supposed to begin next October.
Unfortunately nothing else is really known about the movie but like Clooney said back in a 2008 interview with MTV, “There’s nothing to explain what it is except that it’s a Coen brothers film.” Normally that would be enough to satisfy us/get us excited…if Joel and Ethan were directing as well. But they’re not, Clooney is. And the verdict is still out in his directing chops.
He’s not brilliant behind the camera but he’s confident, just as he is in front of the camera. We’ve seen that confidence show through in Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) and The Ides of March (2011). Where things seem to get wonky is when Clooney has to play with different tones. His directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) was entertaining and impressive, but messy when it tried balancing comedy and serious drama. The same issue occurred with last year’s The Monuments Men. It had a great cast but poor narrative not helped by Clooney unskillfully juggling comedy with war drama.
A script from the Coen brothers could mean a lot of dark humor mixed with grisly violence. How Clooney balances that contrast could make or break the finished product. Also, some of the screenplays Clooney has directed from haven’t been the tightest. The source material from the Coen’s is more likely than not very solid, which should help him and act as a guiding hand and it’s a big plus that everyone involved so far has collaborated with each other before which should help make things seamless.
If Clooney can bring the same confidence and skill he’s brought before on some of his films, there’s no doubt Suburbicon will succeed. For now, the movie stands as one of the most curious and potentially exciting projects ready to start shooting.