A Conversation With Steven Soderbergh - Part II
by Joshua Moss
To read the first part of this article, click here.
iW: (Do) you plan to return to larger films?
Soderbergh: Well, I’m sure I’ll go back to making films on the scale of the ones I’ve made before, which are larger but not large by Hollywood standards.
iW: The thing I wanted to ask you as I was watching “Schizopolis” is what it’s
like to go from some of the greatest cinematography I’ve seen recently, in
“Kafka” to…not that “Schizopolis” doesn’t look good…
Soderbergh: No, no, I see what you’re saying.
iW: I mean, as a director its got to be weird, how one day you’re sitting in
dailies seeing panoramic black and white shots of Prague that are stunning,
and with this film you’re seeing grainy hand held shots of your
Soderbergh: But that’s the fun of it! That extreme contrast…it’s not that I want
to do it this way every time out, but I think that the two can feed each
other somehow. At least, that’s my hope. I’d like to find a way to combine
iW: That was my impression too. That “Schizopolis” was a piece,…and that
your other movies are pieces, and that you’re working towards merging them
into one movie where you’d have the elements of “Schizopolis” but on a larger
narrative scale, like, say “Kafka”…
Soderbergh: Yeah! I hope so. Believe me, I wish I could make “Kafka” knowing what I
know now. It would be a very different, much more fun movie to watch.
iW: I wanted to ask you about “Sex, Lies…”, with everyone calling it this
“seminal” film, and how everyone attributes to you this sort-of ‘father of
independent film’ title. Do you ever sit and think to yourself that maybe
people just got too crazy over it?
Soderbergh: I think the only reason it comes up, where you see it on a ‘list’ of
important films, is because it made the money it made. Had it not made the
money it made, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Since I’ve ended up
being quote-unquote important, it’s because the film broke out and made more
money than people thought was possible for an independent film.
iW: Do you ever want people to just stop asking you about it?
Soderbergh: No because it’s like someone saying, ‘hey, I’ve got your kid in my
class! I really like her.” It’s like “yeah, great,…” I just don’t feel
connected, to that kind of comment. The film just sort of exists on its own,
at this point.
iW: Getting back to “Schizopolis”, was it ever an issue at all, where you said
to yourself ‘this movie is so off-the-wall, should I worry about it playing
in, say, Baton Rouge?’
Soderbergh: All I thought about was trying to put across some ideas in as
entertaining and unusual way as I could come up with. To see if I could be a
little more rigorous in expanding the film language. I just felt like I was
getting lazy. I know that we’ve been celebrating the centennial of film for
about the last nine years, every year it’s another anniversary. Every year,
when the centennial would arrive, I’d look around, not just at what I was
doing, and think to myself, ‘is this it? Is this what we’ve done in the last
100 years?’ We’ve got to get back to that feeling of the French and British
New Wave, and the films of the 60’s and 70’s of pushing the language a little
iW: So what projects do you have coming up next?
Soderbergh: I don’t know yet…
(just then a bulldog comes up and sniffs at Steven Soderbergh)
Soderbergh: Hi dog.
(the dog barks)
iW: This dog is crazy…what’s your feeling on dogs?
Soderbergh: There’s only been one dog in my life, a black lab named Tar.
iW: Named Tar because it was the color of Tar?
Soderbergh: Yup. Tar…great dog. Labs are good dogs.
(the dog runs off to sniff the trash can)
iW: So anyway, back to the question, what else do you have coming up?
Soderbergh: Well, I’m looking around. My producer and I can’t afford to not have a
salary for another year, like we just did. So we’re looking around for
something to do, you know a regular movie that we can still have fun with.
And then after that we have ideas for “Son Of Schitzopolis“.
iW: “Son Of Schitzopolis”! There’s your title!
Soderbergh: Yeah, we’re thinking of calling it that. It depends on if enough people
come to see the first one or not.