Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh seemingly retired from directing features in 2013 with the double shot of the theatrical release of “Side Effects” and the HBO premiere of “Behind the Candelabra”. He’s hardly been restless though.
In film alone, Soderbergh produced the upcoming spin-off “Ocean’s Eight,” was a producer, director of photography and editor on “Magic Mike XXL,” and directed and produced all twenty episodes of Cinemax’s Clive Owen-led hospital period series “The Knick”. He also served as executive producer on Amazon’s “Red Oaks,” Starz’s “The Girlfriend Experience,” and Netflix’s upcoming Jeff Daniels & Jack O’Connell-led western series “Godless”.
He also has come out of retirement to direct films again, starting with the very commercial-friendly looking racing world-set Southern heist caper “Logan Lucky”.
Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Riley Keough play a trio of siblings who plan a heist at the Charlotte Motor Speedway just before the biggest race of the year. To pull it off they need the help of vault cracker John Bang (Daniel Craig). Speaking with EW, Soderbergh says the similarities to the “Ocean’s 11” trilogy he directed are what drew him to the film:
“On the most obvious level, it’s the complete inversion of an Ocean’s movie. It’s an anti-glam version of an Ocean’s movie. Nobody dresses nice. Nobody has nice stuff. They have no money. They have no technology. It’s all rubber band technology, and that’s what I thought was fun about it. It seemed familiar to me, but different enough.
The landscape, the characters, and the canvass were the complete opposite of an Ocean’s film. What was weird is that I was working as a producer on Ocean’s Eight while we were shooting Logan, and it was kind of head-spinning. That’s like a proper Ocean’s film. This is a version of an Ocean’s movie that’s up on cement blocks in your front yard.
Soderbergh explained that it was a week into filming “The Knick” with its aggressive schedule meant that he found his groove and came to a revelation:
“I was sitting there on [The Knick] set, realizing that this is the job that I should be doing. This is my job. I should be directing stuff. Nobody’s waiting around for my paintings. [You got that right.] So I kind of flipped a switch. I got reconnected with what I like about the job… I wasn’t really thinking about movies… until this script came in over the transom. If it hadn’t, I think everything would be TV oriented.”
“Logan Lucky” is also a test bed for a new film distribution model. Bleecker Street and Soderbergh’s new venture Fingerprint Releasing will release the film August 18th in a wide release on 2,500-3,000 screens. The aim of this new model is:
“[To] do what the studios normally do from a distribution standpoint with a lot less resources and with a much better economic structure for the people who made the film… everybody’s worked for scale. There is no middle man. There is no one taking a cut. The money is coming directly back to the creative pool.”
Soderbergh revealed the “Logan Lucky” shoot benefitted from his time on “The Knick,” and was completed in just 36 days.