‘The Knick’ May Have Ended Because Steven Soderbergh Wanted to Shoot Season 3 In Anamorphic Black-and-White

Soderbergh was ready to continue making "The Knick," but how he wanted to shoot it could have led to its demise.
"The Knick"
"The Knick"

The axe officially came down on “The Knick” in March when Cinemax confirmed it wouldn’t be continuing the acclaimed medical drama beyond Season 2. With exceptional performances from Clive Owen and Andre Holland, plus some of the best directorial work of Steven Soderbergh’s career (the series ranked #3 on our list of the best directed shows of the 21st century), “The Knick” had a fervent cult following that was surely looking forward to where the series would go next. It turns out so was Soderbergh.

READ MORE: ‘Logan Lucky’ Footage: Steven Soderbergh Unleashes A Very Wacky Daniel Craig Performance — Watch

The filmmaker joined Reddit today for an AMA in promotion of his new movie, the heist comedy “Logan Lucky,” and he naturally was asked a lot about the fate of the medical drama. Since both seasons were shot in just 73 days, Soderbergh felt like he and the cast had finally nailed the rhythm of production by the end of Season 2, which made the show’s cancellation extra tough.

“I miss everything about working on ‘The Knick,'” Soderbergh said in one answer. “I was terrified before we began because the schedule was so aggressive, but we found a rhythm very quickly and even though both seasons were shot in 73 days, the second season seemed to go really fast. I think I wasn’t aware of how much psychic space was being taken up creating the universe in season one, so in Season 2 I was able to put that extra brain space to work on thinking of different ways to lay out shots.”

Soderbergh avoided other questions related to the series, except for one. After a Reddit user asked the director if he had any ideas kicking around for “The Knick” Season 3, Soderbergh replied with a brief but jaw-dropping answer:

Season three of THE KNICK was set in 1947 and was going–at my absolute insistence–to be shot in anamorphic black-and-white. It’s POSSIBLE that may have contributed to its demise…

There’s lots to unpack here, starting with the massive time jump. The first two seasons of “The Knick” were set at the turn of the century in 1900 and 1901, but now we know Soderbergh had a nearly five-decade time jump in store for the series. Bringing the show into the post-WWII era would’ve been a dramatic change of pace, both for the story (it would seem likely we’d be introduced to a whole new ensemble) and for the medical advancements the show centered around.

The second big nugget of info is Soderbergh’s insistence the series be shot in anamorphic black-and-white and how that style choice may have led to the show’s demise. Soderbergh doesn’t clarify between film or digital, but something about the widescreen format may have scared Cinemax off given the series’ low ratings. But just imagine a world where Soderbergh can make a television series in this fashion.

“The Knick” is still dead for now, so fans will just have to hold on to the first two masterful seasons. Soderbergh, meanwhile, is heading back to theaters for the first time in four years with “Logan Lucky.” The movie opens August 18 and stars  Channing Tatum, Riley Keough, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig.

Here are some more highlights from Soderbergh’s Reddit AMA:

Directors Should Be Allowed to Cut Their Own Trailers:

Interesting subject…it’s my personal opinion that the filmmaker knows better than anyone how to sell their own film, because they are basically the first audience member. This is not roundly accepted as being true. In the case of LL, i provided a series of references from the late 40s and early 50s to indicate the vibe we were looking for. I was VERY happy with the result, which was never tested…

Soderbergh Favorite Movie of the Year:

GET OUT is the movie of the year so far (based on what I’ve seen, which isn’t a helluva lot, to be fair)…

Here’s What Motivates Soderbergh to Keep Making New Content:

Once something is finished I put it in the rear view mirror, because I can’t control how people are going to respond. If you start making decisions based on how you THINK someone might react, you’ve lost where north is. I make something I would pay to see, and that’s really my only compass. Now, if you make a BUNCH of things in a row that no one likes OR goes to see (a la KAFKA thru GRAY’S ANATOMY), you may want to consider a new career path (OUT OF SIGHT). It’s a tricky balance…you need confidence to keep going, but not so much ego that you stop listening or can’t identify the good ideas around you.

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