After making low-budget films like Unsane and the upcoming High Flying Bird, director Steven Soderbergh appears to be aiming higher with his new film The Laundromat. Based on the April 2016 “Panama Papers” leak, the film has attracted the attention of Meryl Streep and fellow Oscar-winner Gary Oldman, along with Antonio Banderas.
For the past 30 years, Soderbergh has established himself as one of cinema’s most daring filmmakers. In 1989, his feature debut Sex, Lies and Videotape earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and he won the Best Director award for his 2000 film Traffic. Soderbergh was also nominated in the same category for Erin Brockovich that same year. This past decade, he's enhanced his cinematic legacy by directing, editing and shooting films like Magic Mike, Side Effects and Logan Lucky, along with the aforementioned Unsane and High Flying Bird. For The Laundromat, Soderbergh will explore the April 15, 2016 leak of 11.5 million documents that were hacked from the Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca. The scandal revealed the private (and sometimes illegal) dealings of celebrities, public officials and business moguls.
Related: Unsane Ending Explained
Per THR, Streep has joined The Laundromat cast, with Oldman and Banderas in early negotiations to join her on the project. The Laundromat is based on Jake Bernstein’s 2017 book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite. Scott Z. Burns is writing the script, having previously collaborated with Soderbergh on The Informant!, Contagion, and Side Effects.
THR also reports that Netflix is "eying" The Laundromat, despite already having a separate “Panama Papers” film in the works with producer John Wells. That project is based on the book Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the World’s Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money, written by the German journalists who broke the “Panama Papers” scandal, Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer. Last April, The Laundromat was reported to have a “powerhouse cast,” and Streep and Oldman would indeed fit that bill. Oldman just won his first Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest House, while Meryl Streep is coming off yet another Best Actress nod for The Post. Meanwhile, Banderas recently portrayed Pablo Picasso in National Geographic’s TV series Genius.
While it’s always entertaining when Soderbergh challenges the norm, like with his Cinemax series The Knick or the interactive HBO project Mosaic, his most enduring films have featured big stars. Since the The Laundromat will reportedly be on scale with Tom McCarthy’s 2015 true story journalism drama Spotlight, Soderbergh fans can expect plenty of star power for the “Panama Papers” adaptation.
More on The Laundromat as the story develops.