Behind the scenes of The Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ballad of Buster Scruggs before and after VFX

A before-and-after visual effects comparison from “Mortal Remains,” the final chapter in the Coen Brothers’ Netflix western anthology film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. While the other entries were shot on location across New Mexico, Colorado, and Nebraska, “Mortal Remains” and its spectral stagecoach ride were shot entirely on a soundstage. In keeping with the Coen’s reluctance to delve into the meaning of their work, even the film’s production designer Jess Gonchor wasn’t sure of the passengers’ fate.

“I still don’t know whether the characters in that story are dead or alive or just living in the afterlife,” said Gonchor in an interview with The LA Times. “The Coen brothers didn’t discuss it. We built these monochromatic super facades, which were lit from behind. It was a storybook version of what the afterlife might look like.”

The images above come from The Art of VFX’s interview with visual effects supervisor Michael Huber.