BREAKING: Universal Pictures has acquired worldwide distribution rights to Hail, Caesar!, Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest original screenplay. The siblings will direct George Clooney and Josh Brolin in the starring roles. The Coens will produce under their Mike Zoss Productions banner alongside Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan for Working Title Films. This will be the eighth collaboration between the Coen Brothers and Working Title.
Clooney starred for the Coens in Intolerable Cruelty, O Brother Where Art Thou? and Burn After Reading, while Brolin starred for them in No Country For Old Men and True Grit. The last film by the Coens, Inside Llewyn Davis, was released by CBS Films.
My colleague Anita Busch was the first to reveal the details of the Coens’ next film. Here is how she described it: it’s about a fixer in Hollywood circa 1950s who works for the studios to protect the stars of the day. Entitled Hail Caesar, the comical yarn centers on a man named Eddie Mannix who sounds a lot like the Fred Otash of his day — the famed 1950s private investigator who worked for Confidential magazine and was the muckraker of the time using wiretaps to spy on movie stars and gather dirt. Otash was a former lifeguard who became a cop, lost his job as a cop and became a private eye who wiretapped. The project is being put together now. It’s not clear if the Eddie Mannix in the script is based on the man of the same who was a MGM VP, for those of you wondering. The real Mannix was VP and general manager under Louis B. Mayer and Dore Schary. It was Mannix’s wife who actor George Reeves had the affair with. Reeves was later found with a gunshot wound to the head and it was ruled a suicide by the L.A. County coroner’s office but questions have always persisted about the death.
The Coen Brothers are represented by UTA, Clooney CAA and Brolin CAA and Wendy Kirk.