Coen Brothers Reveal Their Netflix Movie, ‘The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs,’ Was Never Meant To Be A Series

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The Coen brothers rarely work on a project they’re not deeply interested in. Known for making off-beat films outside the mainstream, Joel and Ethan Coen have earned their spot as some of the most respected filmmakers in the business. Their new Netflix-distributed movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, is an anthology western movie, consisting of a number of short movies that make up a full-length motion picture.

Since the movie’s announcement, a number of news outlets have reported that The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was originally conceived as a television series before becoming an anthology film. According to a report from Indiewire, those reports are not true. In fact, the Coen brothers have stated the movie that was produced was exactly the vision they had conceived since turning in the original script.

Joel Coen elaborated on the film, which he said was always supposed to be an anthology project and “nothing more.”

“There was a discussion about what the format should be, but it was always the intention that they be seen together. There’s been all this stuff in the press about how it was originally a TV series and we restructured it. No, we had a script. The script is exactly what we gave Annapurna and exactly what we shot. That never changed.”

Not only was The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs never set to be a television series, the Coen Brothers also appear to have no intention to tackle the medium of television at all for the foreseeable future.

“The thing about TV series that I don’t understand and I think is hard for both of us to get our minds around is, you know, feature films have a beginning, a middle and an end. But open-ended stories have a beginning and a middle — and then they’re beaten to death until they’re exhausted and die. They don’t actually have an end. And thinking about that in the context of a story is rather alien to the way we imagine these things.”

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is set to air on Netflix on November 16, and already has a trailer. It stars Tom Waits, Liam Neeson, James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, Ralph Ineson, Zoe Kazan, and Harry Melling.

The Coen brothers first made a name for themselves releasing the movie, Blood Simple, in 1984 to widespread critical acclaim. They went on to receive Oscar nominations for movies like Fargo and A Serious Man. In 2007, they took home the Academy Award for best picture after helming a film based off the Cormac McCarthy novel, No Country for Old Men.