Perhaps in an effort to attract edgier audiences, Steven Spielberg is teaming up with the Coen Brothers for an upcoming Cold War-era film starring Tom Hanks.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Fargo” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” screenwriters and directors Joel and Ethan Coen have signed on to write a new draft of a screenplay detailing the story of lawyer James Donovan, who successfully negotiated for the release of downed U-2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers from the Soviet Union in 1962.
The project, a draft of which was initially written by British playwright Matt Charman and put into pre-production last year, attracted attention when Tom Hanks signed on in April. Hanks is set to portray Donovan in the Cold War drama. The Coens’ involvement makes the production a collaboration a trifecta of Academy Award winners, with the director, leading man and screenwriters all having won Oscars in the past.
No date has been announced, but it’s possible the untitled project could be Spielberg’s next film. The veteran director is attached to a number of projects, including sci-fi blockbuster “Robopocalypse,” the colonial drama “Montezuma,” and an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The BFG.” Spielberg’s Dahl adaptation is set to begin filming in early 2015, but the Hollywood Reporter notes that Spielberg has nothing on his plate until then, leaving him time to direct the Coen-penned project.
There’s no word yet on where this announcement leaves the Coens’ upcoming directorial outing “Hail Caesar.” The Coens first announced the film to the Associated Press in December, referring to the project as a “sandal drama” possibly set in Rome. But earlier this month, Deadline reported that the film would actually center around 1950s Hollywood studio fixer Eddie Mannix. The Coen brothers have not said any more about the project since then.
Though the duo is mostly known for writing and directing their own scripts, the Coens have occasionally collaborated with other directors. This winter, the Angelina Jolie-directed “Unbroken” will bear their screenwriting credits, for example. Still, given the Coens’ tendencies towards R-rated dark comedies, it will be curious to see whether this new project bears their stamp or Spielberg’s.