EXCLUSIVE: In an eye-catching deal, Netflix has bought global rights to Steven Soderbergh’s sports-themed feature High Flying Bird, marking the director’s first collaboration with the streaming giant.
The anticipated drama, set during a pro basketball lockout, follows a sports agent who pitches a rookie basketball client an intriguing and controversial business proposition. The film reunites Soderbergh with his The Knick star André Holland who also reunites on the movie with Oscar-winning Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Also starring are Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Melvin Gregg (UnREAL), Sonja Sohn (The Chi), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek: Beyond), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) and Bill Duke (Predator). Holland plays the agent, Beetz his right-hand and Gregg the rookie basketball player.
Joseph Malloch, Soderbergh’s producer on 2018 horror Unsane, is producing the film. Executive producers are Ken Meyer (Unsane) and André Holland via his outfit Harper Road Films. Soderbergh is understood to have shot the movie in double quick time earlier this year on an iphone, as he did with Claire Foy starrer Unsane.
The maverick director has long-advocated making movies outside the studio system and it’s almost a surprise it has taken this long for him to hook up with the streaming giant. Some have been expecting the duo to team up on Panama Papers movie The Laundromat.
Soderbergh said of the Netflix deal, “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.” Netflix is planning a 2019 global rollout.
Holland is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content and Del Shaw Moonves.