It's Ethan Coen's Turn To Go Solo - With A Lesbian Road Trip Movie

Joel Coen recently directed a film without his brother, Ethan Coen, for the first time, and the result was 2021's "The Tragedy of Macbeth," a pretty darn terrific movie that re-imagined Shakespeare's classic tragedy as a black-and-white, noir-flavored, expressionist nightmare. Now, it seems that Ethan is getting back in the director's chair for a solo project of his own, despite the Coens' longtime composer, Carter Burwell, having previously claimed that Ethan "didn't want to make movies anymore" and instead intended to focus on writing original plays for the time being.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ethan Coen is now in active pre-production on an untitled "lesbian road trip project," with an eye on starting production by summer 2022. The film is based on a script that Coen wrote with Tricia Cooke (whom he's married to) and is being backed by Focus Features and Working Title. Robert Graf, who's been producing the Coen Brothers' movies for the past two decades, will produce Ethan Coen's film with Working Title principals Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, along with Coen and Cooke.

Stop me if you've heard this one...

Cooke, for those who are not familiar, is a seasoned editor who cut together the Coen Brothers joints "The Big Lebowski," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," and "The Man Who Wasn't There" after serving as either an assistant or associate editor on films like "Barton Fink" and "Fargo." What's more, Ethan Coen's new movie began with an earlier script that he and Cooke wrote in the mid-2000s, back when it was titled "Drive-Away Dykes."

Described by THR as an homage to the work of famed exploitation filmmaker Russ Meyer ("Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!," "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls"), this project was once set to be directed by Allison Anders, who broke out with the critically-acclaimed 1992 indie drama "Gas Food Lodging" in 1992 and has since directed episodes of shows like "The L Word," "Orange is the New Black," and "Riverdale." Selma Blair, Holly Hunter, Christina Applegate, and Chloƫ Sevigny were among the actors attached to star at some point, with THR summarizing its (by the sound of it, very Coen-esque) plot as follows:

The story centered on a party girl who takes a trip from Philadelphia to Miami with her buttoned-down friend. Cruising bars ensues as does the potpourri of a severed head in a hatbox, a bitter ex-girlfriend, a mystery briefcase and an evil senator.

Coen, who described "Drive-Away Dykes" as having an "exploitive but innocent" tone at the time, also planned to produce the film, but it ultimately never came to pass. Obviously, though, a whole lot has changed in the world of LGBTQ+ cinema in the 15-plus years since Coen and Cooke wrote their script, so one imagines (or, rather, hopes) they're making the needed changes to ensure that the end result doesn't feel like something that should have stayed unmade. Beyond that? It will be very interesting to see if Ethan Coen fares as well here without his sibling co-directing as Joel Coen did with "Tragedy of Macbeth."