LL has a great trailer, so I wanted to ask this: how much of a hand in creating trailers for their movies do you think directors should have? Also, do you have any trailers that you love or hate to the point where they may have even influenced your style or inspired you to make a movie?
Interesting subject...it's my personal opinion that the filmmaker knows better than anyone how to sell their own film, because they are basically the first audience member. This is not roundly accepted as being true. In the case of LL, i provided a series of references from the late 40s and early 50s to indicate the vibe we were looking for. I was VERY happy with the result, which was never tested...
I've heard a rumor/conspiracy theory regarding you and Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer, the directors of a large number of spoof comedies. Specifically, that the duo doesn't exist, and that you've actually been secretly directing their films under their pseudonyms.
Is there any truth to this theory? If not, care to weigh in anyway?
Wow. Hadn't heard that one...no, not true. I'm too busy keeping Peter Andrews and Mary Ann Bernard focused on their work.
Hey Steven! I'm a huge fan. Thanks for doing this!
· I can't seem to find any information about Rebecca Blunt, the credited screenwriter for Logan Lucky. Is that a pseudonym for someone, a la Lem Dobbs? Or did you pluck the script from obscurity? What drew you to it?
· I found your "state of cinema" talk fascinating. Since it's been four years since you gave it, is there anything you'd revise or update about from the talk?
· Filmmakers like Alejandro González Iñárritu are turning their attention to virtual reality projects. Does that interest you at all? Why or not? What would a Soderbergh VR film look like?
· What's your favorite movie you saw this year?
I met Rebecca Blunt a long time ago through my wife. Apparently she pitched this idea to Channing when all of us were bowling four years ago (I don't recall any of that). She gave me the script to read in the fall of 2014 and asked if I would help find a director for it. After two weeks, I told her that, like Dick Cheney, I had called off the search and chosen myself. Then I gave it to Chan...
I assume The Knick is dead - but can you speak to any of the ideas that were kicking around if it was going to move forward?
Or can you discuss anything you'd have wanted to do personally if the show continued?
Season three of THE KNICK was set in 1947 and was going--at my absolute insistence--to be shot in anamorphic black-and-white. It's POSSIBLE that may have contributed to its demise...
Do you and your fellow filmmakers ever discuss/lament the poor state of movie theater quality control, i.e., tilted projection, 3D filter left on for 2D screening, weird audio mix, dead speakers, the debacle with Interstellar's audio being presented wrong, and many other issues I've experienced across multiple theater chains in my area? Sadly, most moviegoers don't seem to notice or care about these things, and therefore neither do most theater managers, so I secretly wish my favorite filmmakers such as yourself would take up the cause.
I agree, there's nothing more frustrating than a subpar theater presentation. The only solution is to complain, which I do when I see something wrong. And by that I mean write to the head of the theater chain.
Hi Steven! You're my absolute favorite director of all time, and Schizopolis is one of my favorite movies of all time. You mentioned a few years back that you were thinking of doing something with Schizopolis for television, like you did with The Girlfriend Experience. Is that still an idea? Will we be getting Son of Schizopolis in any form?
I'm not sure the world is ready for more Fletcher Munson or Elmo Oxygen, but your interest is duly noted...
I was wondering, as some working in the industry but lacking the finances to self fund a project while also having some logistical concerns regarding crowdfunding (Canada takes a rather large chunk of any money you gain as income tax), do you have any suggestions or advice on how someone can go about finding financing or funding for an independent feature?
Get a script and an iPhone and start shooting. Seriously.
You are known for directing the Ocean's series, What are some heist movies that have influenced your own work?
THE HOT ROCK is probably my favorite heist film. In fact, the deleted scene we posted was a riff on the IT'S GOOD AND IT'S BAD monologue Redford delivers...
Steven! What are your favorite movies from this year so far?
GET OUT is the movie of the year so far (based on what I've seen, which isn't a helluva lot, to be fair)...
Thanks for The Knick. And a very special thanks for releasing the shooting data. I wonder if you're so detail-driven you'll read every comment here. Maybe you won't answer each of them, because ultimately who gives a shit, but I think for some reason you'll read all of these. Maybe a few nights from now. Maybe at the end of your days (may they be long as long as they are interesting!) My only question is the one I can't answer for myself: how do you find balance? You're historically incredibly busy, but you must have other commitments. Is it as simple as hired help? And when does it become empire-building?
There might be a couple of things going on here...one is taking advantage of what every aspiring filmmaker dreams of: People willing to say YES. The other is continuing to explore whatever subject matter I'm interested in or genre I haven't gotten to yet, and lastly, trying to refine my work process so I can be as efficient as humanly possible. Oh, and history tells us I'm going to die at some point, so I'm trying to jam a bunch of stuff in before the party is over...
Based on the trailers, Daniel Craig's performance looks wonderfully weird. Can you tell us a little more about the process of creating that character?
The character was played by Daniel pretty much as written, obviously what he was most focused on was how Joe Bang should SOUND. I've known Daniel a little while through the director John Maybury, so I was able to reach him directly with the script and he said yes immediately. Very lucky for me. Although I always say--cue eyeroll--YOU GET WHO YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO GET.
Hi Steven, I can't wait to see Logan Lucky, the trailers released so far looks amazing. I am a big Sebastian Stan fan, so I was wondering if you could share any thoughts or fun stories on working with him (I know he probably has a small role in the movie, but I am still extremely excited to see him in this). Really appreciate you doing this AMA!
Sebastian was a total doll to work with, I'm so glad he said yes to the movie. Not bad-looking, either, for people who care about that stuff.
You're one of my all time favorite filmmakers and inspirations simply because you don't stop working. What motivates you to keep working when a project you spend a lot of time on doesn't quite connect with audiences like you hoped it would?
Once something is finished I put it in the rear view mirror, because I can't control how people are going to respond. If you start making decisions based on how you THINK someone might react, you've lost where north is. I make something I would pay to see, and that's really my only compass. Now, if you make a BUNCH of things in a row that no one likes OR goes to see (a la KAFKA thru GRAY'S ANATOMY), you may want to consider a new career path (OUT OF SIGHT). It's a tricky balance...you need confidence to keep going, but not so much ego that you stop listening or can't identify the good ideas around you.
Hey Steven, big fan. Which of the Ocean's Trilogy is your favorite? I loved Ocean's 12 the most among the three.
I KNOW YOU'RE JUST SAYING THAT BECAUSE YOU READ I LIKED IT! I will say this: visually and musically, I like it the best of the three.
What do you miss from working on a show like The Knick and what do you not miss?
I miss everything about working on THE KNICK. I was terrified before we began because the schedule was so aggressive, but we found a rhythm very quickly and even though both seasons were shot in 73 days, the second season seemed to go REALLY fast. I think I wasn't aware of how much psychic space was being taken up CREATING the universe in season one, so in season two i was able to put that extra brain space to work on thinking of different ways to lay out shots…
(I've been waiting well over a decade to ask you this)
Hello, Steven. I have a couple questions. How would you describe being the director of photography on Traffic as well as operating the camera yourself? Would you describe it as a very challenging task, or was it rather easy shooting the movie?
Becoming my own DP and operator was something I'd been working toward for awhile. I shot most of my short films and was trained in a dark room in high school, so I've always felt very connected to the technical side of photography. The DPS I worked with prior to TRAFFIC were all extremely generous with their experience as well, which helped me a great deal. The benefits, for me, are speed and intimacy with the cast.
You recently resumed doing audio commentaries for the Blu-Ray of Suture. Do you plan to do anymore?
Depends. I have to have some connection, either to the film or the filmmaker(s). I wish more of them were as combative as when Lem Hobbs and I did THE LIMEY...I remember the technicians exchanging looks like SHOULD WE STOP THIS?
Hi Steven. My stepdad was an extra in King of the Hill. He talks about it all the time -- it's his favorite film. Here's my question: in a world of very formulaic Hollywood films, what was it like breaking into the industry as an independent director?
Just to be clear, I was never anti-Hollywood or anti-studio when I was growing up and starting to make films and break into the business--a ton of my favorite films were made by studios, particularly from the period of 1966-1976. BUT, since I was just a kid living in a suburban subdivision in Baton Rouge with NO connections to the entertainment industry, writing spec scripts and making short films seemed like the only way in, so that's the route I took, hoping at some point I'd encounter someone who would say WHADDAYA GOT, KID?
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Steven, I am really looking forward to this film. Logan Lucky's characters are from WV, and your 2005 film Bubble was filmed in the Parkersburg/Belpre area. My friends and I greatly appreciate your use of our region. But we wonder: what has drawn you to Appalachia?
Also, I want to add that I adore your tweets and your commentary with Mike Nichols on The Graduate. Thank you
Boy, did we have a great time shooting BUBBLE. Truly. It was strictly by chance LOGAN LUCKY is set in WV...apparently Rebecca Blunt has family roots there
Hey Steven, what's your favourite film of the last decade?
Lately I've been telling everyone I know they need to watch THE LOVE WITCH. Wow.
You have a keen eye for talent and have supported the careers of people like Lodge Kerrigan, Christopher Nolan, and Shane Carruth. Did you personally seek them out after seeing their early work? Any thoughts to reviving Section Eight for the next generation?
Also, you were a producer on Carruth's A Topiary; do you think it has any chance of ever getting made? What a great script.
I love Shane and I'm trying to figure out a way for us to work together on something. I too would love to see A TOPIARY get made...
What's so good about The Sorcerer?
Here's the thing with SORCERER and some other films like it (SECONDS, perhaps?: they're movies that ending influencing filmmakers more than audiences. For instance, I'm sure Michael Mann would acknowledge SORCERER as an influence. Or he SHOULD, anyway. I know I do.
Thank gawd Hilary Swank is appearing in good movies again. How big is her role in Logan Lucky?
It's not HUGE, but it's CRUCIAL. A very nice young lady, btw. Good sense of humor.
Have you ever thought about making any films about mental health and the current state of psychiatry/medication? Given you've discussed pandemics, health, it seems like a topic you might be good at
Yeah, we tried to delve into that with SIDE EFFECTS but it's a big enough subject I might have to return to it. Stay tuned...
What attracted you to Rebecca Blunt's screenplay for Logan Lucky as your first film out of retirement?
Two things: It was a variation on/inversion of a kind of movie I've made (and like to watch), and some new opportunities in distribution arose that enabled me to address some of the problems I have with how wide release movies are handled by the studios. So it was a way to test some ideas and have fun at the same time...
I love watching your re-edits. Are there any particular films that you would like to re-edit yourself that you haven't tried yet?
I've been thinking I need a new project like that. It's tricky. Also, I'm in the midst (if you can call fifteen years of work "midst") of a radical KAFKA overhaul, which I really want to finish by the end of the year...
I read that you filmed much of Logan Lucky at Atlanta Motor Speedway along with Charlotte Motor Speedway. How did you disguise AMS as Charlotte?
Lots of paint!