George Clooney and Josh Brolin are both rumored to be involved with the new Coen brothers film Hail Caesar!, which Deadline reports is going to be about a Hollywood fixer in the 1950s employed by film studios to protect their biggest stars from the media and themselves.
MTV reports that Clooney and Brolin have both signed on to play lead roles in the film. Both of the actors have worked with the Coen brothers in the past. Brolin was in No Country for Old Men and Clooney has worked with the directors on numerous occasions, including 2009′s Fantastic Mr. Fox, 2008′s Burn After Reading, and 2000′s O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Deadline said that Hail Caesar! will be a comedy following private detective Eddie Mannix, a man who’s hired by film studios to spy on movie stars in order to dig up the dirt on them that then needs to be covered up so that it’s not discovered by the media. During those days, Hollywood stars would have multi-film contracts with studios, and so a studio’s investment could be ruined by a poorly timed scandal. Studios would spy on their own employees in an attempt to protect their investments and smother potential scandals.
The character sounds like he could be based on Fred Otash, the private detective and former cop who worked for Confidential magazine and got inside scoops on stars’ personal lives using wiretapping. Otash is also well known for being hired by Peter Lawford to investigate Marilyn Monroe’s involvement with the Kennedys.
Deadline also pointed out that there was an actual Hollywood figure named Eddie Mannix, who was a vice president and general manager at MGM under Louis B. Mayer and Dore Schary. The real Mannix was involved in his own scandal when his wife had an affair with with actor George Reeves, after which Reeves was found killed by a gunshot wound to the head. The death was classified as a suicide, but questions and conspiracy theories surrounding it have persisted. The Coen brothers movie could be about the real life Mannix, or it could simply be a coincidence that the character has the same name.
The Coens’ most recent film, last year’s Inside Llewyn Davis, was a critically acclaimed look into the folk music scene in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Many felt that the film was snubbed by Academy voters when it was only nominated for cinematography and sound mixing awards.
The brothers have also been involved in the FX television series Fargo, based on their 1996 cult classic film of the same name. The show is inspired by the movie; it also takes place in the northern Midwest and hinges around a series of brutal murders, exploring how everyday Midwestern life is disrupted by violence. The series uses a different plot and characters than the movie, though, and is written by Noah Hawley. The Coens produce the series, which has gotten great reviews.
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