After cowboys and folk music, the Coens' 'Hail' Hollywood's Golden Age

Wed Feb 3, 2016 4:33pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For more than thirty years, Joel and Ethan Coen have tackled almost every film genre, from stoner comedy "The Big Lebowski" to revenge Western "True Grit" and the 1960s New York folk music scene in 2013's "Inside Llewyn Davis."

But for their latest caper, the filmmaker brothers found themselves inspired by something a little closer to home - Hollywood's Golden Age.

"Hail, Caesar!," out in U.S. theaters Friday, follows a stress-filled couple of days in the life of Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a fixer at a major Hollywood film studio who is dealing with the mysterious kidnapping of his leading man Baird Whitlock (George Clooney).

Mannix must deal with two nosey twin gossip columnists (Tilda Swinton), a pregnant leading lady (Scarlett Johansson) and a punctilious director (Ralph Fiennes) trying to make a star out of a bumbling young cowboy (Alden Ehrenreich).

Then there are the suspicious movements of singing-and-dancing spectacle Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum).

"It's hard to be in (Los Angeles) for any length of time and not feel like it must have been great in the 40s and the 50s," Ethan Coen told Reuters.

"So much of it has gone but there's enough of it left to suggest what it might have been like."

Hollywood's glamorous facade is a world away from the small town crime wave in 1996's "Fargo," the underground folk music scene that the Coens explored in "Llewyn Davis" or the suburban dynamics in "Burn After Reading."   Continued...

Cast members (L-R) Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum pose at the premiere of "Hail, Caesar!" in Los Angeles, California February 1, 2016. The movie opens in the U.S. on February 5.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni