Was it only *checks watch* two weeks ago that I reported that Steven Soderbergh was officially for realsies coming back from retirement with the NASCAR heist movie Logan Lucky? News travels so fast these days that it feels like eons ago that I only knew two of the actors appearing in it and that Soderbergh was doing it in the first place. Since then, many casting announcements have been made, some interesting, some bizarre, and at least one that’s utterly inexplicable.
The day I reported on Logan Lucky officially being a thing, I said that the film would star Channing “Chan-fried Po-Taters” Tatum and Michael Shannon as brothers who carry out the central heist, with Fury Road/Magic Mike/the TV show of The Girlfriend Experience‘s Riley Keough as another character. That proved to be correct for maybe a few hours at most, at which point it was said that Shannon dropped out due to scheduling conflicts with Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, about a Cold War-era romance between a mute factory worker and a fish-man (Shannon plays neither the factory worker nor the fish-man, incidentally). That in and of itself is great news, because it’s always nice to be sure that Guillermo del Toro is actually going to make the movie he promises to make, but it left a main character in Logan Lucky requiring an actor. And who stepped up to the plate but Mr. Outer Space himself, Adam Driver. Personally, I’m not really sure if Driver is a more or less convincing brother to Tatum, but I think he’s a great actor who will surely flourish under Soderbergh’s direction.
At the same time Driver was cast came news of another potential cast member… Seth MacFarlane. To say that I never expected Seth MacFarlane to appear in a Steven Soderbergh film is a massive understatement, and I’m still having a hard time imagining what on earth the combination will look like. Like much of humanity, I find MacFarlane’s small child-killing levels of smugness to be a turn off, although he certainly has a great voice and could have the potential to do good under someone’s lens besides his own (see Hellboy II), and given that there have probably been two (2) bad performances in all of Soderbergh’s oeuvre, I’m sure that will end up being the case. Still, I’m not sure I’ll be able to control my desire to punch the screen whenever MacFarlane comes on it.
Two weeks passed since those bits of news, and now we have two more casting announcements. The first is Daniel Craig, best-known recently for his hilarious portrayal of “man who desperately wants out of his contract” (incidentally, the fact that Logan Lucky starts shooting in the fall is apparently the final nail in the coffin of anybody’s hopes that he would return for a fifth James Bond movie). The second is Katherine Heigl. Before you get too confused, you should note that Soderbergh worked with Heigl way back at the start of her career, giving her a role in his excellent King of the Hill, so them working together probably makes more sense than Soderbergh teaming up with Sad James Bond. I’ll admit that my Heigl experience besides that is minimal, so I don’t know if she is, like many online say, The Worst (I’ve heard a few stories about her that makes her sound vaguely unpleasant, but that’s not really too much to go on). Either way, I’m sure she’ll do a good job, and even if she doesn’t, she’ll be surrounded by people doing good jobs.
Other than all that that, it was revealed today that NASCAR has officially supported the film, which, shocker, means that the film is probably a fun romp and not an Informant!-esque poison-pen letter to them and their practices. Pre-production will begin this weekend at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600, with the start date being this fall and the planned release date being next fall (that means that you’ll get a double-dose of Soderbergh goodness in 2017, between that and Mosaic). I’m just going to post the gif now like a good little sheep.