Steven Soderbergh compares ‘Logan Lucky’ to ‘Ocean’s’ movie ‘up on cement blocks’

It seemed familiar to me, but different enough. They have no money. So I kind of flipped a switch. 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. I should be directing stuff. You sell the foreign to cover the cost of the [film] negative. Since then, he’s been busy, but   in a format that has become home to more and more filmmakers like Soderbergh: television. And we immediately started conversations with NASCAR to get their assistance. It’s all rubber band technology, and that’s what I thought was fun about it. This sounds like a much larger version of what Shane Carruth did on Upstream Color, which he released entirely by himself. 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. 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. If it works, it’s a lane for people like myself to drive in. I’m excited about it creatively because it’s the kind of movie that I like to make. I think we got everything we needed, and we didn’t get in anybody’s way. We had no problems. It was all really well organized. Everybody knew where they had to move at what point in the race and what they should be shooting. It’s the kind of movie that I like to see. The scale of it is massive, and on that day, we had five cameras running around. The question is, “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?”
So this is your critique of studio distribution and an attempt to simplify it. For a while, I was just very, very happy to be working in that form. There’s no one component that hasn’t been done before, but I think it’s a combination of components. I really couldn’t bear the thought of somebody else getting to do it. How did the day go? All of the indicators are there, that I should be doing this. 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. We formed Fingerprint Releasing to do this and to be able to export this to other filmmakers. I’ve worked on some films with pretty aggressive schedules. What’s the plan, and what are those theories? Was it the original intent to incorporate that specific race? Ahead of the release, EW   spoke with the filmmaker about how this plan is different and what drew him back into the features game. The Knick scared me. I loved working with a ten-hour canvass. 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. Logan Lucky is exactly the kind of movie you’d expect from Soderbergh, a fact that   makes his return especially exciting for fans. The distribution part is only a little different because we control it in a way that you normally don’t get to control distribution. Some of these issues that I’ve had in the past with the way movies are released can be mitigated. This is my job. What makes   Logan Lucky different from Soderbergh’s previous star-studded heist movies is how it’s being released. I was sitting there on set, realizing that this is the job that I should be doing. You’ve come out of your retirement from feature films to make this. First, I was not going to be directing at all and just really take a sabbatical. The landscape, the characters, and the canvass were the complete opposite of an Ocean’s film. They have no technology. This is a version of an Ocean’s movie that’s up on cement blocks in your front yard. It’s really simple. STEVEN SODERBERGH:   I was given the script through a friend and asked if I would recommend some possible directors. It’s been almost four years since   Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic and — according to him at the time — his final feature film before retiring from the medium. This was on another order of magnitude, and I was terrified. We got all of the stuff we needed. Was it always your plan to end the hiatus? People have done this before. The Knick was like CrossFit for directing. Show Full Article On Aug. We sell the non-theatrical rights to cover the cost of the [prints and advertising], and that’s it. Nobody has nice stuff. It was just one of those moments where the planets aligned. That’s leisurely compared to what we had on The Knick. NASCAR took really great care of us. If we weren’t able to do what we did, I don’t think we would have made the movie. That’s why there is no middle man. Is there any kind of short explanation for what the plan is? It was great. They even have an accomplice, John Bang (Daniel Craig), who is an expert at blowing vaults opens, but there’s one small problem: He’s in prison. So if someone like Alejandro Iñárritu, Alexander Payne, or Sofia Coppola wants to use this model that we’ve set up, it’s sitting there ready to be used. It couldn’t have gone any better. It’s a very commercial movie with movie stars in it that’s going to go out to 2,500 to 3,000 screens. Now, that happened to coincide with some ideas that I’d had regarding distribution, and the timing seemed right. We worked very hard to get NASCAR on board as a partner because we really felt that it was critical, because if you couldn’t shoot at the real race and put your people there, then it just wouldn’t be compelling. That event’s pretty crazy. To read more from EW’s Summer Movie Preview, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here. 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. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW. We had to shoot 600 pages in 73 days. On the most obvious level, it’s the complete inversion of an Ocean’s movie. The economic model is pretty simple. There is no one talking a cut. I wouldn’t have been as aggressive with the schedule on Logan prior to The Knick. It’s an anti-glam version of an Ocean’s movie. Nobody dresses nice. 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. What was in Rebecca Blunt’s script specifically that sparked with you? That’s like a proper Ocean’s film. I do want to dig in and talk about the model, because you’ve said that you’re “testing out personal theories” with this release. And Logan Lucky is the movie to test that with? 18,   the film will open in theaters across the country via Bleecker Street and the director’s Fingerprint Releasing with an experimental model of distribution that could offer a unique option to filmmakers like Soderbergh. Logan was 36 days. 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. Bleecker Street
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is your origin with the project? It seemed like all green lights to me. I got reconnected with what I like about the job. The money is coming directly back to the creative pool. After directing all 20 episodes of Cinemax’s   The Knick and serving as executive producer on   The Girlfriend Experience on Starz and   Amazon’s   Red Oaks, Soderbergh is making a return to feature films, and he has an interesting reason why. It was really fun, and I wasn’t really thinking about movies… until this script came in over the transom. It was exciting. By all standards, this is a studio movie. How does it end up in front of you? This script came to me while we were shooting Magic Mike XXL, so that would have been fall of 2014. If it hadn’t, I think everything would be TV oriented. My feeling is that it’s gotten way too expensive to release a film wide, and the way that the economic structure of a studio is set up, if you’ve what we’ve done on this movie — which is everybody’s worked for scale — you’re too far away from your money. It’s such a unique event that I don’t know what solve we would have come up with. In many ways, Logan was — not to say that it was easy — but it wasn’t as challenging from a schedule standpoint as The Knick was. It was a pretty short shoot, and obviously, you’re trying to make the best film you can for a number. How did the Coca-Cola 600 come into the picture? 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. Nobody’s waiting around for my paintings. This was something that was keeping me up at nights, wondering if this was really too big a reach. But we had it all plotted out. Luckily, we started conversations with them very early. 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.