There is an informal list that I keep of people whom I just have to write about for The Solute whenever something vaguely newsworthy comes up about them. That list is currently three people long, and two of those people, Steven Soderbergh and Woody Allen, have made the news recently with casting announcements for their next films (the other person, Joaquin Phoenix, hasn’t done much of note besides have his movie with Lynne Ramsay get picked up by Amazon Studios). However, those news stories weren’t particularly interesting ones viewed separately, so I decided to pull a nuts and gum and stuff them together. If nothing else, I hope this piece amuses you because of how similar my two standard images for Allen and Soderbergh are, in composition, setting, look, and posture.
The last time I looked at Steven Soderbergh, not including my foray into watching the (excellent) Soderbergh-produced The Girlfriend Experience, many people had joined his first post-retirement film project, Logan Lucky, a heist movie starring Chan-fried Po-Taters, Adam Driver, and TGE‘s Riley Keough that’s set during a NASCAR race. Those people included the semi-natural fits (Driver), the slightly oddball picks (Daniel Craig, Katherine Heigl), and one that’s just crazy enough to work (Seth MacFarlane). And since then, even more people have decided to hop on board the Soderbergh train. The first person was none other than Hilary Swank. Swank hasn’t done too much this decade, with this being her first major project since The Homesman two years ago, and if she doesn’t necessarily scream “cast me in a heist movie!”, I have no doubt she’ll do great work. I’ll admit, however, that Swank interested me less than another added cast member who was tucked away in the Swank announcements. That would be none other than Shasta Fay Hepworth herself, Katherine Waterston. Since her breakthrough with Inherent Vice, she’s popped up many places, from indies (Queen of Earth) to mid-budget studio movies (Steve Jobs) to big-budget franchise continuations (the Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the Prometheus sequel Alien: Covenant). She’s a great actress, so I’m thrilled to see her work with Soderbergh and join an already fantastic female cast (before you make any comments about if that includes Heigl, I will note that Soderbergh already got a good performance out of her, way back with King of the Hill).
If you’re an MRA jackoff who took several wrong turns and wants to know about any male additions to the cast, well, here you go. Two-time Oscar winner and rising star, meet your male counterpart… Jack Quaid. Before you ask, yes, Quaid is Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan’s kid (he should fit right in next to Elvis’s granddaughter in the movie). And before you ask another question, no, I don’t know who he is either. News articles on his hiring stress that he was on Vinyl (now run by Scott Z. Burns, frequent Soderbergh collaborator, who apparently found some wiggle room in Quaid’s commitment to the show), a show I still have yet to watch, so maybe he’s a young De Niro and I just haven’t seen him in action yet. I did, however, see The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and I do not remember him as “Marvel” in either. Maybe he and Soderbergh met on the set of the first one. Or maybe Soderbergh just really wanted to cast a different Vinyl actor, Griffin Newman, and had to settle for Quaid when Newman demanded there be a scene added to the script where Channing Tatum’s character sees someone really famous eating a burger.
The last time I wrote a newspiece about America’s favorite dispenser of jokes that end with “and I say that with all due respect”, Woody Allen, the trailer for his latest, Cafe Society, had premiered and sent shockwaves across the nation for its gorgeous look, courtesy of Vittorio Storaro. Since then, it received respectful reviews at the Cannes Film Festival and other things happened. And now, we’re finally getting news about Allen’s next project (although it’s actually one of three upcoming projects from him, after Cafe Society and his Amazon TV series), with a soon-to-be official cast member of it.
In 2004, while Allen was preparing to shoot Match Point, the actress who was supposed to play Nola Rice, the actress who leads a tennis pro to extralegal actions, left the project a week before filming was to begin. That actress was Kate Winslet, who left the project to spend more time with her kid after shooting another movie, and she was replaced with Scarlett Johansson. Now, 12 years later, Winslet has decided to press her luck again and star in another Allen film. She is in final talks to be in Allen’s next film, which will shoot in the fall, allowing plenty of time for Winslet to play with her children/thank Christ she’s free of those goddamn Divergent movies. I’m sure she’ll do great in the film, she’s Kate fucking Winslet. As is custom for Allen’s new projects, we don’t know the plot of the film, or, most importantly, the cinematographer. Vittorio Storaro appears to have his hands full with two American films, including a version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Chuck Russell, so he may very well have to sit this one out. However, Darius Khondji may be open once again, since Khondji would likely be done with shooting for his latest project, Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, by the time Allen’s film begins production. Of course, now that he’s worked with Allen on the TV series, Eigil Bryld (of In Bruges, House of Cards season 1, and Not Fade Away fame) could be in the cards as well. And given that Allen is a magnet for any and all foreign cinematographers, he could very well go to someone new this time around. But if he doesn’t go to Storaro or Khondji I’ll cry. No pressure, Woody. It’s just that I gotta have either astonishing use of color or beautifully warm skin tones, and none of the above isn’t an answer.