Since I last checked up on my two favorite working directors side-by-side, both have kept busy. Woody Allen’s latest film, Cafe Society, was released, and I liked it enough to probably see it a second time *checks watch* tomorrow. And Steven Soderbergh spilled a few beans on The Knick, the recut of Kafka, and projects that will never be. Now they’re both back in the news, and I finally get to test out that new SailorPancakes-approved header image (I wish there was a bit more headroom on the Soderbergh half, but both halves are funny enough that it should work out fine).
Now that the Television Critics Association has seen fit to let Amazon Studios present, we finally know more about Woody Allen’s Amazon series. We’ve known that the show is a period piece in the 1960s for a little while, we’ve known that the show is shot by Eigil Bryld (of In Bruges, Not Fade Away, and season 1 of House of Cards fame), and we’ve known the cast of the show, including Allen himself, Elaine May (on screen for the first time since Allen’s Small Time Crooks), Miley Cyrus, John Magaro, Rachel Brosnahan, and a bunch of other one-episode players, including Michael Rapaport, Christine Ebersole, Joy Behar, Lewis Black, and Stranger Things‘ David Harbour. But we didn’t know the plot of the series or its title, until Amazon passed around a fact sheet about the show today (they didn’t present on it at the TCAs, so this is now the extent of what we know about it). This sheet officially announced that the show’s title would be Crisis in Six Scenes, which suggests that Allen’s approach to TV (which he has admitted he knows less than nothing about) will be to just write six very long scenes and call it a day (that’s not a complaint, by the way). And the sheet also gave the show an official logline, which is presented below.
Crisis in Six Scenes is a comedy that takes place in the 1960s during turbulent times in the United States when a middle class suburban family is visited by a guest who turns their household completely upside down.
This sounds like some pretty straight farce, a genre Allen hasn’t returned to much in the last ten years, so it’ll be interesting to see if his skills at it haven’t completely atrophied (I’m hoping his last stab at it, Whatever Works, is not a sign of what this will look like). This description also, without actually tying the cast members to their individual characters, pretty handily lays out the roles the main trio of cast members will be playing, with Allen and May as the family (yes, it would indeed be quite hilarious if Allen and Cyrus were the couple, that’s such an exquisite, original joke) and Cyrus as the unexpected guest. Based on the many set photos of Cyrus, where she’s rocking a poncho and a blonde wig that puts even Kate Mara’s to shame, the dynamic will almost certainly be that of the squares colliding with the hippies (interestingly, John Magaro, looking very nebbishy, is the only cast member seen on set with her in those photos, suggesting that maybe they strike up a romance as a b-plot, considering Magaro is only deemed a “recurring guest”). This obviously has the potential to go very, very wrong, but I predict I won’t hate it, because the prospect of Woody Allen and Elaine May freaking out because they just learned about the concept of free love sounds kind of inherently amusing.
The sheet finally revealed that the show will premiere on September 30, in six half-hour episodes, which means that we’ll essentially be getting three Woody Allen movies this year. That should help tide people (including yours truly) over until the release of Allen’s next film, which has been confirmed as bringing back serious candidate for new God, Vittorio Storaro, as the DoP. Eigil Bryld, you’ve got some major-league competition coming.
Since the very first time we heard about Soderbergh’s official first post-retirement project, Logan Lucky, we’ve really only known one thing about the movie’s actual plot; it revolves around a heist at a NASCAR race by brothers. Since the news was broken by leading with Channing Tatum and Michael Shannon, Shannon then very quickly being replaced with Adam Driver, I assumed that Tatum and now Driver would be the central brothers. However, that fundamental theory on the film’s content was thrown into question by one inconsequential bit of casting news.
It was reported a few days ago that Brian Gleeson, brother of Domhnall, was cast in Logan Lucky. This on the whole is hardly worth doing jumping jacks over. I’m sure Brian is a lovely bloke and all, but compared to Domhnall and Brendan, he hasn’t really made a name for himself yet (although that could change with this and his role opposite Domhnall in Darren Aronofsky’s latest film). But Gleeson’s casting did lead to a very interesting factoid on his role and its relationship to other parts in the film. You see, Gleeson will be playing Sam Bang (what a fucking name, guys), who was reported to be the brother to the characters played by… wait for it… Daniel Craig and Jack Quaid. Are these the brothers the film follows, and not the Chan-fried Po-Taters clan? Deadline seems to think so. However, the Film Stage reiterated that the film was following *two* brothers, which either means that one brother of that trio will be sitting the heist out, the Film Stage is wrong, or my previous assumption was correct and Tatum and Driver (or hell, maybe Seth MacFarlane) are the central brothers with Craig and Co. being adversaries to their plan or whatever. But regardless of what their role in the story is, I still have major questions about this trio of brothers. Will Craig and Gleeson have to put on American accents to fit Quaid or will Quaid have to play British/Irish? Why would the mother of these three still apparently be popping out babies literally 25 years after giving birth to her first child? Did all that time in TV corrupt Soderbergh’s casting skills in the film world? All these questions and fewer will probably be answered whenever Logan Lucky comes out next fall.