Joel and Ethan Coen, better known as the Coen brothers, are one of the most acclaimed writer-director duos in cinema. Known for their quirky, darkly comedic films like Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men and True Grit, the siblings have collaborated on over 20 features garnering Oscars and critical praise.
Now in their 60s and 70s respectively, the Coens continue writing, directing and producing films together. They also work on select individual projects apart. Here is an overview of everything the Coen brothers have going on now and what may come next for the iconic duo.
Recent Joint Films
The Coens use their distinctive voice to put a unique spin on various genres of film:
- Directed the 2021 Shakespearean tragedy The Tragedy of Macbeth starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.
- Helmed the quirky 2018 western anthology The Ballad of Buster Scruggs which earned 3 Oscar nominations.
- Directed the 2016 Hollywood period piece Hail, Caesar! with an ensemble cast including George Clooney and Josh Brolin.
- Scored multiple Oscars for the 2010 western True Grit starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn.
The Coens continue pursuing their passion for idiosyncratic stories in different settings.
Upcoming Joint Projects
The brothers have a couple highly anticipated films currently in development:
- Set to direct Scarface, a remake of the gangster classic, produced by Joel Silver for Universal Pictures.
- Working on a film adaptation of Macbeth from the point of view of the three witches with Focus Features.
- Producing an original musical comedy Film-Noir set in 1970s Hollywood co-written by George Clooney and Jessica Hausner.
- Penning a submarine thriller set during World War 2 which they hope to direct together in coming years.
The Coens still have plenty of fresh ideas they are bringing to life through their signature quirky perspective.
Individual Directing Efforts
In addition to collaborating, each brother sometimes writes and directs films separately:
- Joel Coen most recently directed the solo film The Tragedy of Macbeth expanding on their earlier adaptation.
- Ethan Coen directed the 2018 Western anthology The Ballad of Buster Scruggs solo under the pseudonym Ethan Higbee.
- Joel directed the acclaimed music biopic Inside Llewyn Davis in 2013 focused on the 1960s folk scene.
- Ethan directed the romantic spy comedy Intolerable Cruelty starring George Clooney back in 2003.
Though their joint works remain most iconic, the brothers clearly also have individual creative passions they occasionally pursue apart.
When not directing, the Coens produce films through their company Mike Zoss:
- Served as producers for the Best Picture winner Nomadland directed by Chloé Zhao and starring Frances McDormand.
- Produced the 2020 legal drama The Little Things starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto.
- Produced Unbroken, the 2014 biopic about Olympic runner turned POW Louis Zamperini.
- Executive produced the George Clooney directed comedy Suburbicon starring Matt Damon in 2017.
The Coens use their clout to help other filmmakers bring their vision to screens big and small.
While best known for films, the Coens have started branching into television:
- Directed and wrote the first episode of the acclaimed FX anthology series Fargo based on their earlier film.
- Currently executive producing the Showtime anthology series That’s Our Lie featuring different twisted stories each season.
- Developing a limited series set in the 1960s focused on an FBI agent investigating the JFK assassination conspiracy theories.
Open to expanding their creative horizons, expect more TV projects from the Coens in coming years.
The Coens have amassed impressive accolades over their decades long shared career:
- 4 Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture.
- Over 25 other Oscar nominations combined for producing, editing, and writing.
- 4 Golden Globe wins each for screenwriting and directing.
- Won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for Barton Fink in 1991.
- Received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 2019 for their body of work.
The extensive awards and nominations speak to the consistent quality and impact of the Coens’ filmography.
Though intensely private, the brothers do reveal select glimpses into their lives off set:
- Both married their long time editor partners – Joel to Frances McDormand since 1984 and Ethan to Tricia Cooke since 1990.
- Joel and Frances split homes between New York City and Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles.
- Ethan and Tricia reside in their longtime Upper West Side Manhattan brownstone home.
- Enigmatic about religion, but both had Jewish upbringings and occasionally reference spiritual themes in their films.
- Avid readers and music lovers who cite Bob Dylan and Preston Sturges among major influences.
At the end of the day, the brothers remain family men grounded in their commitments to partners and maintaining privacy.
What’s Next for the Coen Brothers
As they enter their late 60s and 70s, the Coens show no signs of slowing down:
- Plan to continue writing and directing both joint and solo passion projects in various genres.
- Want to produce more films and television through Mike Zoss Productions for emerging voices.
- May venture into streaming miniseries and new mediums if the right stories grab them.
- Hope to keep earning awards recognition for exceptional writing, directing and producing.
- Will likely take on acting roles or cameos together occasionally just for fun.
No matter the future endeavors, the Coens will put their own distinct spin on each new project in that special style only they can create.
For over 3 decades, the Coen brothers have cemented their status as two of the most visionary writer-directors in cinema. Both together and individually, they have crafted an impressive filmography full of dark comedies, stark dramas, post-modern westerns and period pieces distinguished by their quirky perspective. Now entering their twilight years, they continue writing, directing and producing unique passion projects across mediums. The Coens balance their prolific output with committed marriages rooted away from spotlights. American film is better thanks to the Coen brothers’ lasting contributions. We can look forward to the duo putting their auteur touches on new stories for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Coen Brothers Now
Here are some common questions people have about what the Coen brothers are focused on currently:
What was the Coen brothers’ most recent jointly directed film?
They most recently co-directed the Shakespearean drama The Tragedy of Macbeth in 2021 starring Denzel Washington.
What upcoming projects are the Coens developing together?
They are set to co-direct a new Scarface remake and also adapting Macbeth from the perspective of the three witches.
What recent projects have they each directed solo?
Joel helmed The Tragedy of Macbeth solo and Ethan directed episodes of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs solo using a pseudonym.
What television are the Coens involved with lately?
They directed/produced Fargo on FX and are executive producing the Showtime anthology series That’s Our Lie currently.
Have the Coen brothers won any major new awards recently?
They received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 2019 for their distinguished body of cinematic work.
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