While I’m not going to get into the debate of what Steven Soderbergh actually meant when he announced his “retirement” a few years ago, one thing is clear: he’s put movies behind him. It’s been two years since he dropped the 2013 double whammy of “Side Effects” and “Behind The Candelabra” and said sayonara to making traditional features. Since then, he’s turned his attention to television, delivering “The Knick” (don’t sleep, it’s one of the best shows on TV right now), and executive producing the upcoming series, “The Girlfriend Experience,” based on his own feature. So why doesn’t he want to make another film that you buy a ticket for at your local multiplex or arthouse? In a new chat with THR, he explains why.
“Just from my very personal, subjective point of view, I don’t have an interest in making another theatrical film unless my attitude changes or the business changes. There are a series of things that have contributed to it — I think the audiences have a played a role, the studios have a role in it — but film is increasingly fear based in its decision-making, and that’s not a good base to be creative,” the director said.
And it’s hard to argue that in a studio situation, there are lots of voices belonging to suits that interject their opinions into the creative vision of a movie. Perhaps it’s their right, given they are fronting the cash, but Soderbergh has clearly found a new path that allows him to pursue whatever creative impulse he has, largely unfettered. But what about “Mosaic,” his recently announced new film, starring Sharon Stone and Garrett Hedlund? Well, that will involve some kind of interactive element via an app, which is hardly the sort of thing studios are doing right now, and it’s set up at HBO, who are clearly enjoying their relationship with the director.
Meanwhile, Soderbergh reveals “The Girlfriend Experience” may not be the only movie in his catalog that he’ll revisit. “…the rights for some of my films are now reverting back to me. ‘Kafka‘ has reverted back to me, ‘Full Frontal,’ ‘Bubble.’ Some version of ‘Schizopolis‘ and ‘Gray’s Anatomy.’ It’s an interesting group of films. I’m trying to figure out if there is something to done with them, something that people will find compelling,” he said. Hmm….maybe we’ll see that new cut of “Kafka” Soderbergh has long been talking about?
It’s a pretty interesting time to follow the director, and I’m eager to see both the second season of “The Knick” (arriving on October 16th) and “The Girlfriend Experience” (no date yet from Starz). Check out the first look of the latter below.