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From Joel and Ethan Coen, the Netflix original film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a six-part Western anthology in which each chapter tells a distinct and unique story about the American frontier. In the segment that shares the movie’s title, Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson) proves that he can be both the life of the party and a frightening opponent, and sometimes both at the same time.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Tim Blake Nelson talked about getting to play the title character in a Coen Brothers movie, just how long ago he was first made aware of this project, how long he prepared for the musical aspect of his performance, how challenging the gun tricks were to do, what makes working with the Coen Brothers such a memorable experience, and who Buster Scruggs is to his friends vs. his enemies. He also talked about why he ultimately wanted to sign on for the Watchmen TV series, for HBO and Damon Lindelof, how he would describe the tone of the material, and shooting in Georgia for Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as his desire to direct more, in the not too distant future.
Collider - Title - Character - Coen - Brothers
Collider: What’s it like to get to play the title character in a Coen Brothers movie?
TIM BLAKE NELSON: Really, I have to say that, ever even since O Brother, Where Art Thou?, my whole career has honestly been a surprise to me, so this has just been another one. I feel incredibly lucky and mostly I just don’t want to waste the blessings that I’ve been given.
Joel - Ethan - Coen - Project
When did Joel and Ethan Coen tell you about this project, and what did they tell you?
NELSON: Well, I was given the script in 2002. Joel said, “This is the first one we’ve written, but...
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