Among the thugs who have run Hollywood from the shadows, Eddie Mannix stood out as one of the first “fixers” at MGM during the golden age of movies. In Hail, Caesar!, the comedy out now from Joel and Ethan Coen, Mannix, played by Josh Brolin, is on the hunt for Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), a star gone missing from the set of a Roman epic, as a pair of reporters (both played by Tilda Swinton) sniff out the scandal. As Mannix stomps around the studio lot, we see other films being made, as well as their stars. In addition to Clooney, who’s a dead ringer for Tony Curtis in 1960’s Spartacus, there is Channing Tatum dancing in a sailor suit reminiscent of Gene Kelly’s in 1945’s Anchors Aweigh; Scarlett Johansson wiggling underwater like Esther Williams in 1952’s Million Dollar Mermaid; and Alden Ehrenreich as a John Wayne–like cowboy. “It was fun to shoot,” says Roger Deakins, the director of photography who has worked on more than a dozen films with the Coens. “We stayed true to the styles of the era, but we didn’t want to make an homage to filmmaking. The trick is that it fits together as a whole.”
Photos: Behind the Scenes: Hail, Caesar!
Josh Brolin and George Clooney. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Brolin and Tilda Swinton. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
The swim team. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Scarlett Johansson and Joel Coen. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Ethan and Joel Coen. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
The Coens and Channing Tatum. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Joel, Alden Ehrenreich, and Ralph Fiennes. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
George Clooney with the extras who kidnap him. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Clooney. Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Starring George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, and Ralph Fiennes. Opens February 5, 2016.