In Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels (1941), director John Lloyd Sullivan (Joel McCrea), having enjoyed success with for comedies such as So Long Sarong, Hey Hey in the Hayloft, and Ants in Your Plants of 1939, announces he wants to make a socially conscious message movie, reflecting the hard times of the Great Depression. He asks the studio to let him direct a film of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a novel by Sinclair Beckstein.