‘American Animals’: Real-Life Heist Inspiration Spencer Reinhard on How His Life Was the Anti-‘Oceans 11’

‘American Animals’: Real-Life Heist Inspiration Spencer Reinhard on How His Life Was the Anti-‘Oceans 11’
With “Oceans 8” and “American Animals” now in theaters, heist movies are having a moment. It’s not hard to see why: During this chaotic chapter in the cultural history of the country, there’s nothing more fun than watching an elaborate cast of characters planning a near-impossible crime, one successfully pulled off with smooth moves, sleight of hand, and winks at the camera.

American Animals” has become a surprise summer hit at the specialty box office, grossing nearly half a million dollars in its first two weeks. But it’s a different kind of heist movie than anything in the “Ocean’s” franchise. The crime draws from a real-life incident — when four college-aged Kentucky men attempted to steal some rare books from Transylvania University in 2004 — and director Bart Layton flips the script on the audience, by bringing in the real people involved to tell their story alongside the actors midway through.
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