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If there's anyone that can be considered an equal to Steven Spielberg, particularly in the realm of projects falling by the wayside, it would most definitely have to be The Coen Brothers. Joel and Ethan Coen have their names on a lot of projects that just didn't make it, and are either never going to happen or are quietly waiting their turn to finally be brought into the light. Even their latest project, Hail Caesar , technically counts as a project they had on the books for a while, before finally making it into a reality. If both of these parties should meet, the resulting project would either be a quick and painless affair or a film that will never see the light of day. Here's hoping for Tom Hanks that his Cold War thriller with Spielberg, which has just hired The Coens for some rewrites, is one of those quick and painless deals.
The news comes from Variety, which reports that The Coen Brothers are continuing their recent pattern of stories based off of/inspired by actual events by signing on to rewrite original scribe Matt Charman's script. The as-of-yet-untitled film has Hanks (who worked with the Coens on The Ladykillers) cast as James Donovan, a lawyer who is drafted by the CIA to negotiate the release of an American U2 pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines.
With his obligation to the adaptation of The BFG coming due next year, it has been speculated that Steven Spielberg might be prepping this film for a quick turnaround before moving onto that children's film. After all, the effects that will be required for the Roald Dahl classic will undoubtedly take a lot more time and effort, and no word of a script or a cast is in play at this moment. As for the Coen Brothers, they have Hail Caesar in their production queue and George Clooney ready to take the lead. While that project won't take as much effort or lead time as The BFG would, it would still be mutually beneficial for this film to be up and running as soon as possible. Knowing the history of the brothers Coen, any sort of delay may trigger this project's return to the "To Do" pile.
Having a team like Steven Spielberg and The Coen Brothers working together is something that sounds like The Avengers of film-making. In fact, when you really think about it, Spielberg already has a film that meshes his emotional sensibilities with a healthy mix of the Coen Brothers' wit and tomfoolery. Remember this scene from Catch Me If You Can?
That right there is a good foundation for what a Coen Brothers/Steven Spielberg drama could look like. Much like Catch Me If You Can, this promises to be a project with a lot of solemn gravity behind it. Of course, that doesn't mean that there won't be time or opportunity for a couple of really well placed jokes, seeing as Joel and Ethan Coen know a thing or two about mining dark/bleak subject matter for a little bit of gallows humor. With Spielberg and The Coens behind the wheel, it looks like Tom Hanks might have to start thinking about what he'll wear to the Oscars.