For most directors, taking a little time off sounds like a great way to lose momentum. On the other hand, Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh -- with over 30 film credits to his name -- apparently had enough of the celluloid world. Almost three years ago, the director decided to retire from filmmaking to focus on television and other projects after making his "last" feature, Side Effects in 2013.
The prolific director certainly didn’t let retiring from movies slow him down. In addition to shooting, editing, and directing every episode of The Knick and producing the upcoming The Girlfriend Experience, Soderbergh has made retirement look an enviable career for the rest of us. Now, it looks like the prolific director/producer may be returning to film again.
Originally, Variety reported that Soderbergh will return to feature films with a caper film, Hillbilly Heist. According to their sources, the director was apparently enthralled by the script. And so far, little is known about that script, but sources reported that Matt Damon (The Martian) and Channing Tatum (Hail, Caesar!) were potentially starring, with Soderbergh acting in some capacity (possibly as director), and Glen Basner (Midnight Special) producing. However, Deadline reports that Michael Shannon (Batman V Superman) will star in the film in lieu of Damon and that Gregory Jacobs (Magic Mike XXL) will produce. Furthermore, it was reported that the film in question is actually titled Logan Lucky. Still, the buzz around Hollywood has major studios clamoring to get a hold of the script, which will reportedly be shopped around later this week.
The constant here seems to be Channing Tatum, who is certainly no stranger to working with Soderbergh, as the two teamed up to work on Haywire, Side Effects, and the Magic Mike movies. Meanwhile, Jacobs served as Soderbergh's assistant director for more than fifteen years and directed Magic Mike XXL, with Soderbergh serving as the cinematographer and editor. With such strong connections between those two and the potential director, it’s unsurprising that the rumor mill has been churning out of control.
However, news of the director’s return may be premature, as Soderbergh himself stated via Twitter that the Variety article was "wrong." Which aspect was "wrong" is unclear, though. Perhaps this means Soderbergh is only interested in producing the film -- which wouldn’t be surprising, as that’s been his primary modus operandi as of late (see Magic Mike XXL). It could also mean that Soderbergh has decided to return to filmmaking but will be shooting a different film. Until he clarifies his intentions, though, it’s hard to say exactly what his denial means.
Soderbergh's potential return and subsequent cryptic denial has prompted a good deal of angst from fans hoping for his return to cinematic work. Although there are many amazing directors working in Hollywood today, the distinctive style of Soderbergh, rooted in his independent film origins (Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Kafka), easily crosses genres and gives his films a dynamic, artistic feel. His return to feature filmmaking would be a most welcome one – especially if his next flick is a heist picture.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more breaking news on Hillbilly Heist (or Logan Lucky) and Steven Soderbergh's possible return to film.