This Friday sees Steven Soderbergh capping off what's been an incredibly prolific and eclectic filmmaking career with the release of "Side Effects," his supposed last movie to open theatrically, starring Rooney Mara, Jude Law and the director's "Magic Mike" muse Channing Tatum.
Yesterday, we ran the first part of our whopping 45 minute (per his request) interview with the director in anticipation of the film's release, in which he discussed his imminent Hollywood departure, his friendship with fellow Mara admirer David Fincher, his upcoming HBO biopic "Behind the Candelabra," and whether he'd ever consider showrunning a TV series.
In this second installment, Soderbergh reveals which genre he wishes he had tackled, why he chose not to return to "Magic Mike 2," his take on the cut he saw of Paul Schrader's Hollywood satire "The Canyons," and details on his upcoming move to Broadway with his "Side Effects" star Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Going back to the film at hand, I want to talk to you about genres. Is there any one you wish you tackled?
I didn’t get to make my sports movie.
Or a western.
I didn’t want to make a western. I could’ve, just horses scare the shit out of me. Literally, they terrify me. They’re so big and so strong that the idea of being around them all day is not going to happen. What else? I didn’t get to make the musical ["Cleopatra"] but I think we’re going to do that on stage so I’ll get that out of my system. I don’t think there are many others that I missed. I never... “Out of Sight” strangely is the closest thing to a rom-com that I would probably ever get.
“Magic Mike,” somewhat.
That’s another weird… You could put it in that category, it’s definitely out on the edge. But, you know… I got to do “Haywire” which was really fun. I did a science fiction movie. I’ve done period. There wasn’t a lot that I wanted to make that I didn’t get to make. Two or three, really. That’s a pretty good ratio.
“Magic Mike 2” appears to be in the works, according to Tatum is saying.
Well, I think they should do it. There were some really good ideas that we get into in the first one that we absolutely could make a good movie around. But that’s gonna be their problem.
Do you think Channing could make a good director for that?
He’s been teasing the press with the possibility.
Well, nobody knows that world better than he does. I think paying very close attention to the process as a whole from the writing to the directing to the cutting, he was a real producer on that movie. He wasn’t a “give me credit,” we were all... me, Nick [Wechsler], Reid [Carolin], Channing and Greg [Jacobs]. Nothing happened without all of us talking and being in the room and hashing it out. I think they should do it. I really do. There’s some good stuff left. But to me, it's a case of 'been there, done that.'
So why make the two sequels to "Ocean's Eleven"?
If you were a young aspiring filmmaker looking to immerse yourself in theories of movement and cutting patterns you could do a lot worse than to turn the sound off and watch those end to end because we put a lot of thought into how they were built. I studied other people who made technically pleasing films to see if I could figure out how they were looking at things. There’s some sort of math involved in constructing chronological images.
When I started the first one I watched all of Fincher’s stuff, all of [Steven] Spielberg’s stuff, all of [John] McTiernan’s stuff. He’s sort of underrated as a stager of action. He knows what he’s doing. And [James] Cameron. People like that, just analyzing how they were looking at these scenes. All that I learned went into those movies. I was really happy with them as visual pieces. And “U.N.C.L.E.” was another opportunity to use that aesthetic and it just didn’t happen.
About the "Cleopatra" stage musical you mentioned briefly earlier; like "Behind the Candelabra," it was originally conceived as a feature film project. What convinced you that it would translate well to the stage?
The vibe of it is very much like “Tommy” which was a stage piece before it was a film piece, so we should go back and do it on stage. It’s a real rock and roll musical, very poppy. It’s just going to be interesting in terms of Broadway. It’ll be interesting to see where we end up. When I think of Broadway -- because I go to shows pretty regularly, and I look around at some of the audiences -- I wonder if really loud guitars are gonna work in this room, with this crowd. Should I put a warning up outside the door? If you don’t like loud guitars you should just turn around and leave. That’s what it’s gonna be. So it’ll be interesting.
What gives you the confidence that you can pull something like this off? Theater is a whole new arena.
I don’t know! What I like about the theater is I get to see it all on it’s feet before it’s done. When you’re doing a play you literally get to see the finished thing before anybody comes in and you have time to fix it. In that regard it’s not like a movie. I really like that about it. We need to put it up on it’s feet and see if it’ll work. But based on some other things I’ve seen I don’t know why it wouldn’t. It’s fun and the music’s good and Catherine will be awesome in it. She’s an interesting character. So we’ll see. It’s good to be scared like that. It’s good to have that pocket of fear, like, oh this might not work.