Coen Brothers Reunite for The Zebra Striped Hearse

Image Credit: Visual Storytellers/YouTube

Joel and Ethan Coen to reunite to write and direct ‘The Zebra Striped Hearse,’ which is in development at Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures. Based on the eponymous novel by Ross Macdonald, the film follows the private eye Lew Archer, who is hired by Colonel and Mrs. Blackwell to dig deep into the life of their prospective son-in-law, an artist named Burke Damis. After taking the case, Archer warns the Blackwells that “they must be prepared to accept whatever information he uncovers, good or bad.” Blackwell, who believes that Damis is marrying their daughter Harriet only for her money, ends up threatening the man, only for him to elope with Harriet.

Image Credit: Visual Storytellers/YouTube

“From there, the search for the runaways takes Archer to San Francisco, Mexico, Nevada, and back to California, finding dead bodies linked to Damis along the way. Archer repeatedly encounters a group of surfers driving around in a zebra-striped hearse, which gives the story its title,” the logline of the film reveals. Macdonald’s source novel is the tenth novel of the author featuring the protagonist, Lew Archer.

The film will mark the reunion of Joel and Ethan as co-directors after the 2018 film ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.’ Upon working together for the anthology film, the brothers parted ways. Joel went on to write and direct ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth,’ a retelling of William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth,’ starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth respectively. Ethan, on the other hand, directed the archival documentary film ‘Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind,’ based on the life of singer-songwriter Jerry Lee Lewis. He also co-wrote (with his wife and acclaimed editor Tricia Cooke) and directed ‘Drive-Away Dolls,’ which is slated to release on September 22, 2023.

Joel and Ethan have been collaborating since their debut film ‘Blood Simple,’ directed by the former and written by both. From the same to ‘Intolerable Cruelty,’ Joel helmed the films as the director while Ethan shared screenwriting credits with his brother. From the 2004 film ‘The Ladykillers’ to ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,’ both Joel and Ethan directed their films, which include globally renowned ones such as ‘No Country for Old Men,’ ‘True Grit,’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ etc.

According to Ethan, the two brothers split because the former felt filmmaking had become “more of a grind and less fun.” However, the same feeling hasn’t stopped Ethan from making movies. In addition to ‘The Zebra Striped Hearse,’ Ethan is also developing a trilogy of queer B-movies, which includes ‘Drive-Away Dolls,’ with Cooke.

Coen brothers wrote the upcoming film in the mid-2010s but the project didn’t move forward then. In an interview given in 2016, producer Joel Silver did open about the same. “I have another script that the Coen brothers wrote for me, based on a Ross Macdonald novel called The Zebra-Striped Hearse, which is pretty great,” Silver told Collider. Silver is the co-producer of several famed films such as ‘Die Hard,’ ‘Lethal Weapon,’ ‘The Matrix,’ ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ etc.

It is unknown when the production of the film will start but it is expected to begin before Ethan gets committed to the aforementioned trilogy. In the upcoming months, we may also find out who will grace the screens as Lew Archer.

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