When Steven Soderbergh first read Rebecca Blunt’s script, Logan Lucky, it was to make a suggestion for who should direct. This was in the fall of 2014 after the Traffic and Magic Mike director announced his retirement from moviemaking. After reading Blunt’s script, though, Soderbergh was inspired enough to return to features.
His first theatrical release since 2013’s Side Effects comes out this August. Logan Lucky is another heist movie from Soderbergh, but he describes it as an “inversion of an Ocean’s movie,” without the gloss and cool factor. Below, the director shares some Logan Lucky plot details and discusses his return to directing movies.
The Logan siblings have big plans for an upcoming Nascar race, the Coca-Cola 600. Before the day of the event, Jimmy (Channing Tatum), Clyde (Adam Driver) and Mellie Logan (Riley Keough) are going to try to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway. They’re maybe not the best of the best (they’re not the kind of team Danny Ocean would assemble), but at least they’re not alone. The siblings will get a helping hand from Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), a man with a knack for blowing open vaults and great (and appropiate) name.
Before they can all pull off the heist, they’ll face another hurdle: getting Joe Bang out of prison.
According to Entertainment Weekly, that’s the basic gist of Logan Lucky. Soderbergh found the Logan family’s heist compared to his past work “familiar” but “different enough”:
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.
After reading the script, Soderbergh couldn’t “bear the thought of somebody else” directing Logan Lucky. Following the director’s brief retirement from movies, he turned his attention towards television by directing two seasons of The Knick and the Red Oaks pilot, and executive producing The Girlfriend Experiment and Godless. The fast-paced experience of The Knick reminded Soderbergh of what he liked about his job:
First, I was not going to be directing at all and just really take a sabbatical. Right as we were going to Cannes with Behind the Candelabra, which was in my mind going to be the official start of my enforced vacation, I got the script for The Knick. So I went from not doing anything and exploring my future as a painter to starting to shoot a ten-hour television show in four months. The Knick scared me. We had to shoot 600 pages in 73 days. I’ve worked on some films with pretty aggressive schedules. This was on another order of magnitude, and I was terrified. This was something that was keeping me up at nights, wondering if this was really too big a reach. About a week in, I realized that there was a rhythm that was actually really exhilarating to be had and we were going to make it. I was sitting there on 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. So I kind of flipped a switch. I got reconnected with what I like about the job. For a while, I was just very, very happy to be working in that form. I loved working with a ten-hour canvass. It was really fun, and 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.
One part of the job Soderbergh is still not a fan of is the cost of distributing a movie these days. With Logan Lucky, Bleecker Street and Soderbergh’s Fingerprint Releasing are distributing the movie on 2,500 to 3,000 screens. They’re taking a different approach to distribution, which you can read more about at EW, but the director wants to answer the question: “Can you 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?”
Like an Ocean’s film, Logan Lucky is stacked with talent. The movie co-stars Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, Seth MacFarlane, Macon Blair, Hilary Swank, Sebastian Stan, and Katie Holmes. Here’s a pic of the Logan siblings courtesy of EW:
Logan Lucky opens in theaters August 18.
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