You never really know when something’s going to cause a big stir on the interwebs, especially inside baseball jobs. Today, THR wrote a piece questioning the authenticity of the screenwriter Rebecca Blunt, credited as writing filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming hillbilly heist movie “Logan Lucky” starring Channing Tatum, Riley Keough, Adam Driver and, as the final credits say, “introducing Daniel Craig” among many others.
It’s true, Rebecca Blunt doesn’t exist. She’s a pseudonym as already suggested. THR has many guesses as to the writer’s true identity: Steven Sodbergh’s wife Jules Asner, Soderbergh himself, and E! personality John Henson, who is a screenwriter and friend of the Soderbergh household.
But THR had it right the first time. A source intimately connected to the production and director confirms that Asner 100% wrote the script in full (fwiw, I was told this months ago before anyone knew or decided the identity of the writer was gong to be a mystery). In fact, the mystery is a poorly held “secret” to the entire cast and crew of “Logan Lucky” – Asner was on set every single day. Asner’s family is from West Virginia, her maiden name is White and it’s been said she’s a distant relative of “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia“, a family with a similarly disreputable name as the Logan family depicted in the movie. Jesco White has a cameo in the film as a prison inmate.
That said, Henson wasn’t a bad guess. He wrote the old, presumably dead Soderbergh project “Making Jack Falcone,” which had Benicio Del Toro attached to star circa 2010.
Soderbergh is well-known for his pseudonyms, employing Peter Andrews for his work as cinematographer and Mary Ann Bernard as an editor. Many are suggesting that Soderbergh did not use those pseudonyms for “Logan Lucky,” but having seen the film, that’s incorrect. The use of a sobriquet is now a family tradition apparently.
Asner’s decision to not use her real name was her own because she didn’t want to distract from the narrative of the film or Soderbergh’s new company/distribution model Fingerprint Releasing, which partnered with Bleecker Street for the movie’s release.
Soderbergh’s having fun with this one, even telling EW:“Well, that’s going to be news to Rebecca Blunt,” he told the publication. “When people make a statement like that they should be very careful, especially when it’s a woman screenwriter who is having her first screenplay produced.” Careful, indeed. The denials will persist, but that’s part of the game being played here.
The star-studded “Logan Lucky” also includes Katherine Waterston, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane and Hilary Swank, and opens on August 18th. You can read our A-grade “Logan Lucky” review here.
Update: here’s the amusing manner in which Blunt is treated in the production notes provided to press. The gag goes as far as to even give Blunt a bio with quotes and all.
“The screenplay, given to him by his wife, Jules Asner, was written by their friend Rebecca Blunt.”
An Auspicious Screenwriting Debut
The Logan Lucky script represents a remarkable effort by first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt. Like the characters in her script, Blunt grew up in West Virginia. She briefly attended UCLA before moving to New York to hone her writing skills.
Blunt says Logan Lucky’s working-class anti-hero was inspired by the remarkable background of her friend Channing Tatum. “I wrote Jimmy Logan with Channing in mind because I see Jimmy as an alternative version of Chan’s own story,” she says. “Chan’s from a small southern town, I believe he won a football scholarship to play in Florida but ended up blowing out his knee before the season started, so he became a stripper. I thought of Logan Lucky as, ‘What if Chan hadn’t become a male stripper and had gone back home?’ I ran into Chan and his partner Reid at a bowling alley and mentioned the the idea to them — at the time I called it Hillbilly Heist — and Chan said, ‘That sounds great!’ I don’t know if he even remembers saying that and I never imagined all of this would really happen.”
Blunt fleshed out the film’s central plot based on a combination of news reports and her own imagination. “I heard about sinkholes at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is built on landfill. They brought in out-of-work coal miners to make repairs. With my West Virginia roots, I have a lot of sympathy for coal miners. I also had a fascination with pneumatic tubes from when I was a little kid and my mom would go to the drive-thru at the bank. She’d always let me put the money in the tube and it would magically take the money away to the teller.” Blunt gave the finished script to Soderbergh, “I wanted to see if Steven had any suggestions about directors I should go to with the script, since he’s made so many great heist movies,” Blunt says. “I was thinking he’d sworn off feature films so I was very surprised when he came back and said he wanted to direct it himself.”