No Sudden Move Cast On Making Another Soderbergh Banger
An all-star cast; a sharp, compelling heist; breezy, slick direction: with No Sudden Move, Steven Soderbergh is at it again.
The Auteur is dying, save for a few household names (Nolan, Tarantino, Lee, Spielberg, Scorsese and now, Zhao). ‘Grown-up’ stories, in their more prestigious form, are few and far between. IP is both the name and game, and content – be it miserable, meagre or magical – is all that matters. ‘A little bit of everything, all of the time,’ as Bo Burnham put it, as long as there’s an appetite, it’ll be whetted until dissipating into the ether of the ever-fickle zeitgeist.
Yet, as the new age swirls around him, Soderbergh is a steadfast crafter of whatever he damn well pleases, breaking the mould with iPhone-shot films like Unsane and High Flying Bird, assembling the Walk of Fame whenever he feels like it and flying under the radar, despite his legendary rep. Remember when he was nominated for Best Director twice in one year, and then won? The man’s a moviemaking king – that’s why nobody would dare say no.
No Sudden Move, directed by Soderbergh from a script by Ed Solomon, isn’t your new Ocean’s Eleven, nor is it close to the offbeat antics of Logan Lucky. It’s far more fraught, even sordid in how it drives its unfortunate pawns to desperation, but it’s still got a jaunt in its step, an air of familiarity and easy energy.
Set against the backdrop of 1954 Detroit, a city in flux between corporate tycoons and gentrification, the film follows a small crew tasked with stealing a document. Alas, it goes rather horribly wrong, leaving suspicions and motives up in the air as the clock ticks somewhere.
Ahead of its release, I sat down with its uber-ensemble: Benicio del Toro, Don Cheadle, David Harbour, Frankie Shaw, Amy Seimetz, Noah Jupe, Ray Liotta, Julia Fox, Bill Duke and, heralding the Brenaissance, Brendan Fraser.
The cast never minced their words in praise for Soderbergh. ‘He is one of the most efficient filmmakers that I’ve ever met,’ Seimetz, who earlier worked with him on adapting The Girlfriend Experience, said.
‘His ability to be extremely open but efficient, and he’s such a cinephile – not just big movies, but he watches everyone’s movies. If I sent him a list of films, some of them made for $5,000 or $200 million… he can see things for what they are, he’s a true filmmaker. I can go on and on, but he’ll get embarrassed and I will too.’
Del Toro and Cheadle, arguably the film’s leads, were similarly effusive. ‘He gets you home early,’ the Traffic star quipped. ‘He’s really quick. Joking aside, he’s one of those directors… directors have the final word, and he’s one of those directors that will listen to what you have to say, will include you in the decisions – not only about your character, but he wants to hear what you say about the story.
‘That makes for a great director to collaborate with. That’s one of the main things you want as an actor – to be able to communicate, to be listened to, to be able to express your concerns not only about your character, but about understanding the script, and he’s great at it.’
For Cheadle, it’s another ace in his career hand. ‘I’m just dying to continue to do interesting work, and work with people like Benicio. It’s great to have a scene partner like him. Just these kind of experiences and a director like Steven,’ he said.
The Marvel star doesn’t have any specific role in his sights. ‘If there is some uber-goal, it’s really interesting directors, really interesting projects. I’d like to work with Mexican and Korean directors who I think are amazing. Just to keep learning and keep having different experiences in this space.’
MCU aficionados know we’re due to see Cheadle get his own Disney+ show with Armor Wars, coming after a brief, Emmy-nominated appearance in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I asked for a single crumb of detail, and he joked, ‘I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to shoot in the UK.’
Laughing, he then answered more definitively, ‘I don’t know what I can tell you about Armor Wars. We’re just putting the room together right now, but when I get back to L.A. we’re gonna need to start having some meetings with writers, starting to really break the spine on the story – so, more to come.’
Duke is an irrefutable icon; a powerhouse talent. He’s someone who appreciates talent and respecting the ‘craft’ of movies. ‘I think it’s a craft, I really do. I know that sounds corny, but anybody can pick up a camera and make a movie, but great movies take craft. Great actors surrender to something beyond their intellect, so surrendering to that is a craft,’ he said.
At 78 years young, the Commando legend has no plans to retire. ‘I never want to stop working because I enjoy what I do so much – directing, acting or writing – and I’ve got two books coming out. I’m also starting my own platform called the Unite Network, which talks about the good news happening in the world. I’m doing a lot of different things – I just want to keep busy. I think when you stop, things stop in you too. So, trying my best.’
Fraser, starring as a hulking, criminal middleman, just seemed delighted to be involved at all. ‘Really good,’ he said, after I asked how it felt to be back. ‘I’m in a Steven Soderbergh movie, we all are. It’s a nice piece of work, I hope everyone gets a chance to see it.
‘It’s interesting because it actually brought us closer together with all the social distancing required. You care about one another and you’re more concerned for one another’s wellbeing and safety. I think it shows in the ensemble performance this film to be viewed.’
This brings us to the contagious elephant in the room. I actually spoke to the cast back in June, when cinemas had barely opened and COVID-19 was still on the tip of our anxieties – not that it’s all over now, but amid vaccinations, booster jabs and booming ticket sales for No Time to Die and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, there’s a greater sense of normality these days.
No Sudden Move debuted on HBO Max in the US, something somewhat contentious for a few Warner Bros. filmmakers; Dune’s Denis Villeneuve railed against it from the off, and Sopranos creator David Chase said he was ‘extremely angry’ to discover The Many Saints of Newark was getting a day-and-date release.
The prospect hasn’t been met with any negativity from its stars, albeit they all love the big screen. ‘I went back to the movie theatre as soon as it opened. I was pretty much alone in the movie theatre. It didn’t even matter what was playing. I love that event and experience, and I also love being a hermit and staying home. That’s why I’m happy to see the emergence of all these streamers,’ Shaw said.
‘I’m a very social guy, so I miss all these social events. I’m even a live theatre guy, so this whole time has been miserable for me. We’ve been through tragedies before where we can still come together, hug each other… there’s something so insidious about this tragic pandemic is that you have to view other human beings as dangerous to you. It’s so counter to my nature, I just love human beings and being in groups of people, so I can’t wait. I’ve already been back a bunch of times. After my double vaccination, I feel like a new person – bring it on, spit on me [laughs], I need to get in it,’ Harbour said.
Quick aside: obviously, I asked Harbour about Hopper’s apparent resurrection in Russia in Stranger Things. ‘What can I give you?’ he pondered, considering any ‘little spoilers’ he could give me.
‘There’s these quadrants of the story that are all epic and interesting in and of themselves. My quadrant that I’m most into is the biggest, most brutal thing he’s ever experienced,’ he said.
‘The things that we’ve lost about him as he became a dad and this sort of neurosis around Eleven, we’re gonna drop back into this world of his that was very brutal, violent and vicious. We’re gonna see this guy that’s a real warrior, someone who’s been through the grinder – we’re gonna show you a lot of stuff he’s been through that’s only been subtly hinted at, and that’s exciting. You’ll start to see this layer unfold him that you’ve known about the whole time but now you’ll see it come to the fore.’
Back to business at hand: the streaming vs. movie theatre debate. ‘I love the cinema to bits, I will never stop going till the last cinema closes. I am subscribed to all of the streaming services. But there’s a lot of people who can’t get out and watch something in the cinema and don’t have a cinema near them or stuff like that, so it’s gonna allow a lot more people to see it across the world,’ Jupe, who also returned in A Quiet Place Part II earlier this year, said.
‘I can’t wait to get back to the theatre, I was just talking about this today. I really wish people could have a communal experience watching stuff. I miss the laughter, the communal laughter of being in a theatre and laughing with people and watching horror films like A Quiet Place. And laughing at Noah [laughs]. But I love that you have access at home and as a creator, the streaming platforms have been amazing,’ Seimetz said.
In the UK, No Sudden Move won’t be available to see in your local multiplex. However, it will finally arrive on Sky Cinema and NOW from October 9 and Digital Download from October 10.
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