Zoe Kazan Talks Lack of Female Protagonists in 'Ballad of Buster Scruggs': "There's a Heightened Awareness"

"I’ve never had a less gendered experience on set in my entire career," the actress said of working with the Coen brothers on the Western anthology film.

Zoe Kazan stars in the six-part Western anthology film from Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and as she tells The Hollywood Reporter In Studio, it took the filmmaking duo almost 20 years to bring it to life.

"This is a very unusual film. It's told in six distinct chapters that are all Westerns, but they all have a different relationship to the genre. It's sort of like opening a box of candy or something; there are so many different kinds of treats," she says.

She further explains of the Coen brothers' writing process: "They wrote the first chapter of it almost 20 years ago, and the last chapter of it they wrote right before we shot, so there's this wonderful sense of getting to see their minds ruminate on the same topic for 20 years."

Kazan is one of the few women who star in the film, playing Alice Longabaugh in "The Gal Who Got Rattled," and she explains the responsibility that came with taking the role.

"I think everyone's minds are on issues of representations now, or there's a heightened awareness," she says. "The Coens, I think, historically have written really interesting female roles, and I've never had a less gendered experience on set in my entire career."

She added: "I didn't think it was a deficit in the script, but I did think, 'If we're going to only have one or two female protagonists in this whole thing, I better make sure that I'm doing my job.' But it's the Coen brothers and you want to do a good job as an actor anyways because they're the kind of filmmakers that actors dream their entire career of getting to work with."

Watch the video above to hear Kazan also discuss if she has desires to direct, her work on Wildlife and more.