Though the Coen brothers have made their careers by writing and directing movies, their recent film adaptation of Cormac McCarthyâ€™s No Country for Old Men is the work most likely to win them an Oscar for Best Picture. The departure from self-written black comedy has lead brothers Joel and Ethan to their greatest success since their film Fargo which won them an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1996. No Country was hailed by critics as beautifully acted and thrillingly cinematic, and held the number 1 slot on more critics’ top 10 lists then any other film in 2007.
In the wake of this success, the Coens have decided to continue with the trend of book adaptation. Their next film will be The Yiddish Policemanâ€™s Union, originally written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.
The Yiddish Policemanâ€™s Union is a noir-esque murder mystery follows the story of Meyer Landsman, an alcoholic homicide detective. Though the book is set in the present day, it takes place in an alternate reality where the Holocaust was only able to eliminate 2 million Jews and the state of Israel was snuffed out of existence during the War of Independence in 1948. Over the course of the book, Landsman investigates the murder of a criminal mastermind/Chasidishe rabbi’s son turned chess prodigy who was addicted to heroine and may have been the messiah.
The critical response to the novel was overwhelmingly positive and with the Coen brothers’ previous experience with film noir (The Hudsucker Proxy, Barton Fink) the film adaptation of Chabonâ€™s story promises to be worth the price of admission. Chabon stated that the Coens were “among [his] favorite living moviemakers. What’s more, I think they are perfectly suited to this material in every way, from its genre to its tone to its content.”
The Yiddish Policemanâ€™s Union will be made for Columbia Pictures and officially went into preproduction on February 13th, as soon as the writers’ strike ended. As of yet there is no release date.