Oh, my. We might have just entered a very well-funded new phase in Steven Soderbergh‘s filmmaking career. Netflix has picked up the global rights to Soderbergh’s sports drama High Flying Bird, marking the first collaboration between the pioneering filmmaker and the streaming giant.
The film stars Castle Rock star Andre Holland (who previously worked with Soderbergh on the unjustly short-lived Cinemax series The Knick) as an NBA agent who pitches his rookie basketball client (Melvin Gregg) on a controversial business opportunity during a pro basketball lockout.
High Flying Bird also stars Atlanta and Deadpool 2 breakout Zazie Beetz alongside Sonja Sohn (The Chi), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek: Beyond), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) and Bill Duke (Predator).
“We had several strong options for distributing High Flying Bird, but to borrow the patois of the movie itself, this deal felt like a slam dunk and the perfect way for me to begin my relationship with Netflix as a director,” Soderbergh said.
Getting into business with Netflix is a natural move for the filmmaker, who’s built a career dancing around and sometimes through the studio system. As an example, High Flying Bird was produced quickly on the heels of Soderbergh’s iPhone-shot psychological horror Unsane — in fact, Soderbergh had his first cut of the film locked a matter of mere hours after he wrapped filming, and weeks before Unsane arrived in theaters. A platform like Netflix could give Soderbergh the opportunity to make the films he wants his way (Netflix earns nothing but praise from creators for the immense creative freedom) and have them reach a much bigger audience than usual. When Unsane did finally hit theaters, it last only a few brief weeks before being pushed out in favor of bigger titles.