Adam Driver, Channing Tatum Speed Up In 'Logan Lucky'via Entertainment Weekly
Itís been almost four years since Behind the Candelabra
, Steven Soderberghís Liberace biopic and ó according to him at the time ó his final feature film before retiring from the medium. Since then, heís been busy, but in a format that has become home to more and more filmmakers like Soderbergh: television.
After directing all 20 episodes of Cinemaxís The Knick
and serving as executive producer on The Girlfriend Experience
on Starz and Amazonís Red Oaks
, Soderbergh is making a return to feature films, and he has an interesting reason why.Logan Lucky
is exactly the kind of movie youíd expect from Soderbergh, a fact that makes his return especially exciting for fans. Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Riley Keough star as Jimmy, Clyde, and Mellie Logan, three siblings planning on robbing the Charlotte Motor Speedway just before the biggest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600. They even have an accomplice, John Bang (Daniel Craig), who is an expert at blowing vaults opens, but thereís one small problem: Heís in prison.
What makes Logan Lucky
different from Soderberghís previous star-studded heist movies is how itís being released. On Aug. 18, the film will open in theaters across the country via Bleecker Street and the directorís Fingerprint Releasing with an experimental model of distribution that could offer a unique option to filmmakers like Soderbergh. Ahead of the release, EW spoke with the filmmaker about how this plan is different and what drew him back into the features game.ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is your origin with the project? How does it end up in front of you?
I was given the script through a friend and asked if I would recommend some possible directors. Not unlike Bud Selig when he was charged with finding a commissioner for Major League Baseball, I thought that I was the right person to direct this film, and the search was stopping. I really couldnít bear the thought of somebody else getting to do it. Now, that happened to coincide with some ideas that Iíd had regarding distribution, and the timing seemed right. It was a movie that I very much wanted to make and also the opportunity to experiment with this new model was becoming possible, so I decided to pull the trigger.I do want to dig in and talk about the model, because youíve said that youíre ďtesting out personal theoriesĒ with this release. Whatís the plan, and what are those theories?
By all standards, this is a studio movie. Itís a very commercial movie with movie stars in it thatís going to go out to 2,500 to 3,000 screens. The question is, ďCan 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?ĒSo this is your critique of studio distribution and an attempt to simplify it.
My feeling is that itís gotten way too expensive to release a film wide, and the way that the economic structure of a studio is set up, if youíve what weíve done on this movie ó which is everybodyís worked for scale ó youíre too far away from your money. Thatís why there is no middle man. There is no one talking a cut. The money is coming directly back to the creative pool.This sounds like a much larger version of what Shane Carruth did on Upstream Color, which he released entirely by himself.
If it works, itís a lane for people like myself to drive in. We formed Fingerprint Releasing to do this and to be able to export this to other filmmakers. So if someone like Alejandro IŮŠrritu, Alexander Payne, or Sofia Coppola wants to use this model that weíve set up, itís sitting there ready to be used.Is there any kind of short explanation for what the plan is?
Thereís no one component that hasnít been done before, but I think itís a combination of components. There have been advancements in technology that make it a lot easier to get a movie out in 3,000 screens than it was even two years ago. The economic model is pretty simple. You sell the foreign to cover the cost of the [film] negative. We sell the non-theatrical rights to cover the cost of the [prints and advertising], and thatís it. Itís really simple. People have done this before. The distribution part is only a little different because we control it in a way that you normally donít get to control distribution.And Logan Lucky is the movie to test that with?
It was just one of those moments where the planets aligned. All of the indicators are there, that I should be doing this. Iím excited about it creatively because itís the kind of movie that I like to make. Itís the kind of movie that I like to see. Some of these issues that Iíve had in the past with the way movies are released can be mitigated. It seemed like all green lights to me.What was in Rebecca Bluntís script specifically that sparked with you?
On the most obvious level, itís the complete inversion of an Oceanís
movie. Itís an anti-glam version of an Oceanís
movie. Nobody dresses nice. Nobody has nice stuff. They have no money. They have no technology. Itís all rubber band technology, and thatís 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 Oceanís
film. What was weird is that I was working as a producer on Oceanís Eight
while we were shooting Logan
, and it was kind of head-spinning. Thatís like a proper Oceanís
film. This is a version of an Oceanís
movie thatís up on cement blocks in your front yard.How did the Coca-Cola 600 come into the picture? Was it the original intent to incorporate that specific race?
We worked very hard to get NASCAR on board as a partner because we really felt that it was critical, because if you couldnít shoot at the real race and put your people there, then it just wouldnít be compelling. Luckily, we started conversations with them very early. This script came to me while we were shooting Magic Mike XXL
, so that would have been fall of 2014. And we immediately started conversations with NASCAR to get their assistance. If we werenít able to do what we did, I donít think we would have made the movie. Itís such a unique event that I donít know what solve we would have come up with.How did the day go?
It was great. We had no problems. It was all really well organized. NASCAR took really great care of us. I think we got everything we needed, and we didnít get in anybodyís way. It couldnít have gone any better. It was exciting. That eventís pretty crazy. The scale of it is massive, and on that day, we had five cameras running around. But we had it all plotted out. Everybody knew where they had to move at what point in the race and what they should be shooting. We got all of the stuff we needed.Youíve come out of your retirement from feature films to make this. Was it always your plan to end the hiatus?
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. Iíve 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. Nobodyís 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 wasnít really thinking about moviesÖ until this script came in over the transom. If it hadnít, I think everything would be TV oriented.When you sat down to do Logan Lucky, did you feel like a different director from the one who made Behind the Candelabra?
Yeah, I came out of the other end of The Knick
different, and Logan
benefited from that. It was a pretty short shoot, and obviously, youíre trying to make the best film you can for a number. I wouldnít have been as aggressive with the schedule on Logan
prior to The Knick
. The Knick
was like CrossFit for directing. That was a full-on workout, and I felt like I was in really good shape when I came out the other end of it. In many ways, Logan
was ó not to say that it was easy ó but it wasnít as challenging from a schedule standpoint as The Knick
was 36 days. Thatís leisurely compared to what we had on The Knick