Working with director Steven Soderbergh unnerving yet thrilling
NEW YORK – Starring actresses Claire Danes and Zazie Beetz, the upcoming miniseries Full Circle is a twist-filled thriller about a botched kidnapping in New York.
But with acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh behind the camera, it is not surprising that the show is also a morality tale about privilege, corrosive secrets and the dark side of capitalism.
Debuting on HBO Go on Thursday, the six-episode drama presents a web of interconnected stories, one of which involves wealthy couple Derek (Timothy Olyphant) and Sam (Danes), who manage the business empire of Sam’s father Jeff (Dennis Quaid), a famous chef.
But things take an unexpected turn when Derek and Sam believe their son Jared (Ethan Stoddard) has been kidnapped.
Speaking at a film festival in New York, Danes, 44, teases some of the story, which was written by Ed Solomon, the screenwriter behind the science-fiction action comedy film Men In Black (1997).
“I play a very high-functioning, very composed wife, mum, professional, but it doesn’t take too long before her world starts to unravel. And choices that she made quite a while ago are starting to catch up with her and reveal themselves to have been very injurious,” explains the American actress, who won two Emmys for the terrorism drama Homeland (2011 to 2020).
“Every character has to face themselves in a deep way and confront choices that they made a long time ago and are realising were problematic. And that kind of personal reckoning is exciting to watch – and it’s something that we should all have to face at some point in our lives.”
She was excited to work with Soderbergh, the storied director behind the crime drama Traffic (2000), for which he won the Best Director Oscar, as well as the biopic Erin Brockovich (2000) and the Ocean’s Eleven heist trilogy (2001 to 2007).
“He has a totally singular approach to film-making and television-making,” Danes says of the 60-year-old American film-maker.
“He works very quickly, faster than any director I’ve ever worked with, and he’s kind of a one-man band. He’s the cinematographer, the director of photography, and he edits as we go along. It was a little unnerving initially, but it was also thrilling and I grew to really love it,” adds the actress who won a third Emmy for the biographical drama Temple Grandin (2010).
Beetz, 32, had worked with Soderbergh on the 2019 sports drama High Flying Bird, and here she plays Harmony, a wayward postal inspector who is drawn into the kidnapping case.
The German-American actress, who appeared in the superhero films Deadpool 2 (2018) and Joker (2019), says: “Working with him again was such a gift. I really enjoy his energy and his style and how he works on set, and it’s wonderful to be able to do that with a show that’s quite complex, layered and nuanced.”
Soderbergh is also known for his out-of-the-box casting choices and, in Full Circle, one of them was putting American stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan in a more dramatic role.
The 57-year-old, who plays Harmony’s boss Manny, was happy to switch gears.
“There are the times where comedically, you kind of relieve the tension and, in a drama, you kind of sit in it, and I enjoy the awkwardness of sitting in it too.”
And the plot of the show will eventually bring together all these seemingly disparate characters from diverse communities in New York, Gaffigan says.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but I think that the show is about how everything comes round full circle, and how everything is like karma,” adds the performer, who has also appeared in biographical dramas such as Tesla (2020) and Experimenter (2015).
“You might think you get away with something, or think you know who gets away with stuff and who doesn’t, but you don’t.”
- Full Circle premieres on HBO Go on Thursday.