While Steven Soderbergh’s sabbatical from feature filmmaking yielded two magnificent seasons of The Knick, his return to the film world could be just as exciting. It was announced today that the Ocean’s Eleven director is set to produce with an eye to direct a feature film about the Panama Papers, which was the biggest data leak in corporate and government history, for Anonymous Content and Grey Matter Productions. Scott Z. Burns, the screenwriter behind Soderbergh’s Contagion, The Informant!, and Side Effects as well as the filmmaker’s never-made iteration of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is on screenwriting duties, working from journalist Jake Bernstein’s upcoming book Secrecy World as source material.
As of yet Soderbergh is not formally set to direct, but it would mark a fascinating match of material and director if he decides to do so. This is firmly in the “recent history” realm as the Panama Papers only leaked this past April, at which time the intricacies of tax evasion and the overall financial structure of many governmental and corporate entities was revealed, with reverberations that are still being felt today.
But coming from the guy who directed The Informant!, there’s no telling what kind of film this Panama Papers movie would be if Soderbergh does indeed decide to take the helm. A thrilling corporate intrigue drama? A scathing satire? A straight-up comedy?
Soderbergh is currently filming a new comedy feature film called Logan Lucky with a star-studded cast that includes Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, and Daniel Craig. He also recently wrapped post-production on a mysterious project for HBO called Mosaic, which may or may not be a movie, but stars Garrett Hedlund and Sharon Stone, and is producing director Gary Ross‘ female-driven Ocean’s Eleven spinoff.
While The Knick’s Season 2 finale brought the show to a shocking conclusion, Soderbergh recently revealed that he hopes to return to helm the third and fourth seasons if he and the writers can come up with an entirely new idea worth telling. If not, his other plan was to have another filmmaker take over and make the show their own with entirely new characters and locations.
Soderbergh is undoubtedly one of the most exciting filmmakers working today regardless of medium, so whether he ends up directing this Panama Papers movie or not, it’s exciting to see so much movement regarding his upcoming slate. Moreover, a reunion with a screenwriter as talented as Burns makes this film that much more enticing.