James Franco has been discussing his collaboration with the Coen Brothers on The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, the upcoming Netflix series that marks the Academy Award winners’ first foray into television, and which the actor insists starts off “wacky” but gets “progressively darker.”
Franco made this admission when I sat down with him to talk about his film “The Disaster Artist,” which was met with critical acclaim after its screenings at the Toronto and San Sebastian Film Festivals. Towards the end of our discussion I asked Franco about “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs,” which provoked him to insist that the show won’t blossom into a television series that lasts for several seasons. Instead he clarified that it will just be a one-off.
“It’s not a series really. It has sort of been misidentified as a series. It will be just a one time thing. But it is an anthology film for Netflix.”
At this point, though, Franco then began to wax lyrical about collaborating with the “Fargo,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “Raising Arizona,” “No Country For Old Men,” and “True Grit” directors.
“It was amazing. A dream come true. They are the best. They are one of my favorites. I have been wanting to work with them since I started acting.”
When I asked which of the Coen Brothers’ previous films does “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs” remind him of the most, Franco explained, “It is a western. Because it is an anthology there are six parts, and I think on the whole it is on the darker side of their western stuff. But each part is a little different in tone. It sort of starts lighter and has seemingly frivolous things, and wacky, and then just gets progressively darker.”
I wasn’t the only one interested in hearing about the show, though, because James’ brother Dave, who was also present to talk about “The Disaster Artist,” soon enquired, “Is there any kind of through-line? Or are they kind of stand-alone episodes?”
“They are all standalone episodes, but thematically it all ties together,” Franco responded. “They kind of track the history of the Western. Starting with this Gene Autry kind of flair all the way through to John Wayne to Eastwood and darker sort of stuff. Then all the stories end around the 1900s.”
We’re still not exactly sure when “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs” will premiere, but we do know it will be at some point in 2018.
Before then, though, audiences can marvel over James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist,” which will open in New York on December 1 before extending nationwide on December 8.