With production scheduled to begin at the end of the month, James Franco has reportedly signed on to the Coen Brothers' eagerly anticipated TV series The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Franco would be joining a cast that reportedly includes Stephen Root (Office Space), Ralph Ineson (Prey), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Zoe Kazan (Olive Kitteridge), and Tyne Daly (Judging Amy).
Franco, Root and Ineson are expected to appear in the second episode of the series' six-episode season, Near Algodones. In the episode summaries released last week, Near Algodones is "about a high-plains drifter whose own fecklessness dogs his attempts at bank robbery and cattle driving."
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is described as an "event anthology" of six self-contained short stories unified by a shared time period and Western trappings. What makes this project of particular interest to Coen Brothers fans is that Scruggs is being developed as a multi-platform experience, combining both television and film aspects to the overall story. Whether that means the episodes will be edited into one long theatrically released film or that the film will also be self-contained and different from the series remains to be seen.
The Coen Brothers released brief episode summaries for all six episodes last week:
"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is about a singing cowboy.
Near Algodones is about a high-plains drifter whose own fecklessness dogs his attempts at bank robbery and cattle driving.
The third story, Meal Ticket, follows an actor and impresario of a traveling show.
The fourth, All Gold Canyon, is about a prospector who happily finds a gold seam but then unhappily finds an evil encroacher.
The fifth, The Gal Who Got Rattled, follows two trail bosses on the Oregon Trail and a woman on the wagon train who needs the help of one of them and who might be a marriage prospect for the other.
Lastly, The Mortal Remains, about the five very different passengers on a stagecoach of mysterious destination."
Franco also has the HBO drama The Deuce premiering in September; and has recurring roles in the TBS comedy Angie Tribeca as well as the Hulu limited series drama 11.22.63, based on the Stephen King novel with King expressing interest in developing a sequel series.