The last time I covered Logan Lucky, Steven Soderbergh’s triumphant return from the least committed exile ever, for this site, it had just begun principal photography and added Sebastian Stan to its cast. Aside from the occasional (now sadly-deleted) tweets from Soderbergh on the set, there hasn’t been much news on this front. But now that production has wrapped after 34 days of shooting, I find myself with enough material for another story on the matter. Of course, I probably would’ve tried to write something anyway even if I didn’t have the material, but let’s forget about that.
First off, some details about the film have come out due to articles about its connections to NASCAR. As I’ve said before, it’s about a heist held during a NASCAR game (done through an underground hydraulic tube system created for the movie), and Soderbergh got the support of NASCAR very early on. And we’ve found out what exactly that support entails in this article. First off, the film will feature many cameos by NASCAR personalities (as one could expect from the man behind such real-figure cameofests as Traffic and K Street, plus the aborted “the baseball players play themselves” version of Moneyball). Second, in what may concern those hoping for a scathing takedown of NASCAR values and practices in the vein of The Informant! (by the way, meet me after you read this to discuss this bridge I could sell you), NASCAR will be treated as wonderful, fun entertainment, and all effort will be made to make the film appeal to NASCAR fans in addition to the general moviegoing public, with the aforementioned cameos and an attention to getting the details right, including shooting at actual races. But most importantly to me, producer Mark Johnson (who also produced Soderbergh’s Kafka) said that the film will be “very, very commercial, where I joke we’re not out to win Oscars — we’re out to win the Bank of America award” (he also says in a USA Today article that it “isn’t The King’s Speech,” presumably meaning there aren’t shots filmed from inside Channing Tatum’s nostril) and that “[viewers] should laugh and they should have fun with the intricacies of the robbery itself.” Soderbergh hasn’t directed something in as purely fluffy a mode as it sounds like this is in since the last Ocean’s movie, so perhaps the joyousness of Magic Mike XXL warmed his heart enough to get him back in the escapism saddle again.
But there’s more to the news about this movie than that. You see, as you could probably guess, I rather obsessively looked at the film’s IMDb page for potential updates on it. Since I published that last piece, I’ve seen a few. One is the introduction of character names for some of the actors. Channing Tatum is “Jimmy Logan”, Adam Driver his brother “Clyde”, Riley Keough “Mellie Logan”, Seth MacFarlane “Max Chilblain”, Daniel Craig (wait for it) “Joe Bang”, and Katie Holmes “Bobby Jo Logan Chapman”. Wait a minute, Katie Holmes isn’t in this movie! What gives?
When I first saw the IMDb listing for Katie Holmes, I was skeptical. C’mon now, you’d think there would be some announcement of her casting prior to me seeing this. But then I noticed something else about the page; Katherine Heigl was no longer listed on it as a cast member, having been announced as one alongside Daniel Craig. Was this the doing of some cheeky IMDb user, maybe the same one who said the film’s production company was “DreamWorks Animation”? But nope, Holmes stayed up as a cast member and Heigl wasn’t re-added, and I’ve since found articles talking about Holmes as a cast member (and admittedly a few also talking about Heigl as one). I even saw one month-old comment on a Hollywood Reporter article, before I saw the change on IMDb, saying that Holmes was in the movie and not Heigl. So, I’m calling it; one KH has overtaken another in the Logan Lucky cast. Whether this is the result of the initial announcement being the subject of some rather appallingly large confusion or just a post-announcement casting shake-up, I can say that Holmes has finally become the superior replacement rather than the one being replaced (although even then, she’s still at the bottom of an excellent female cast that includes Hillary Swank, Keough, and Katherine Waterston).
Also added to the IMDb page was none other than Macon Blair, whose softness and large, sad eyes really impressed in Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin and Green Room, so him getting cast in a Soderbergh movie is absolutely delightful. The film still does not have a distributor set up, but Soderbergh seems adamant that it will be premiering in theaters in almost exactly one year’s time. Until then, you’ll have to make do with Mosaic and like it, young man!