Miranda July to Take on the Heist Genre

Me and you and everything we know about Miranda July's next movie.

Miranda July

Me and you and everything we know about Miranda July’s next movie.

Author, performance artist, and filmmaker Miranda July is going back behind the camera after a seven year absence. Teaming up with Annapurna Pictures (Phantom Thread, Spring Breakers) and Plan B Entertainment (Okja, The Lost City of Z), July’s untitled third feature is described as a family heist movie. Production is set to start in May and will be produced by Youree Henley (20th Century Women, The Beguiled). Based on her previous cinematic work, the film will probably be more Bottle Rocket than Ocean’s Eleven.

July originally sprung her inspiration from the riot girl scene of Portland. The feminist punk movement was the catalyst for her own DIY cinematic distribution system. Linking up with other female filmmakers, July started a chain letter video collection where one creative added their short film atop another. Her first film, Atlanta, was attached to the second tape in the series, and July nurtured the project from 1995 to 2003 when she passed it off to Bard College’s film department.

Her feature directorial debut, Me and You and Everyone You Know, was an offbeat (don’t say “quirky”) gaze at contemporary love. It won the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and made a little splash within the American indie scene. I can’t help but think it would make an even larger impression if released today — the John Hawkes factor alone would score certain eyeballs.

July was last seen at this year’s Sundance film festival performing opposite Helena Howard and Molly Parker in Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline. Having recently published her first novel (“The First Bad Men”), July is now daring to jump into the very familiar sub-genre of the heist picture.

The press release offers a few details on the plot:

“The film follows the story of Old Dolio and how her world is turned upside down when her criminal parents invite an outsider to join their biggest heist yet.”

Sidney Lumet’s Family Business immediately springs to mind. But that cheeseball caper starring Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman, and Matthew Broderick as a family of crooks plotting a bumbling burglary will probably have nothing in common with July’s tone. Her version of this classic set-up is certainly appealing. The mind races at the possibilities of casting. More John Hawkes please.

July has never been one to settle on any particular genre or medium. She tries out one flavor and then it’s on to the next. She has a genuine fear of inactivity. She’s a shark, if she stops swimming she’ll die.

In 2015, July explained to The Believer how the industry’s short attention span drives her to get back in the game:

“And right now I’m like, shit, if I don’t make another movie soon I don’t get to be a filmmaker anymore. They revoke that card that was very hard to get in the first place. That’s actually inspiring, somehow. So then I just kind of herd my loosest, freest level of thoughts into that direction and try to break down what’s stopping me.”

Hopefully, by dipping into these heist tropes, July will garner even more attention. Her pied piper antics will lure new folks over to her other projects and pull genre fans out of their comfort zones. The crime film has always been an arena eager to take on unique points of view, and July’s oddball heart will crush its well-established confines.

Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.