Filmmaker Gives More Details On The Leni Riefenstahl Project He Deep-Sixed
Late last year we reported that Steven Soderbergh‘s spy action thriller “Haywire,” starring MMA fighter and non-actor Gina Carano, was set to bow on April 22. In January, Soderbergh himself confirmed that date, but obviously if you’ve been paying close attention, you know that’s not happening.
It’s April 1 this Friday and no pictures, posters or trailers have been revealed (or at least not that the public has seen), so obviously the picture isn’t landing in theaters in less than a month; that much you can be assured of. We’ve been hearing for the last few months that August was the new target date and last week during a lecture at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute where he received an Honorary Degree for his artistic contributions to filmmaking, Soderbergh confirmed a release for the film was coming “this summer.”
Reshoots took place on the film earlier just a few months ago — see some photos here — and Soderbergh brought them up in his lecture to film students as a luxury you want to have. When asked if he would ever change anything in his career or his films, the director answered immediately, “Oh, I would change everything,” he said and then cited a “Haywire” example. “The film was basically done last summer,” he said. “And the people who financed the movie said, ‘you know you’re two million dollars under budget and there’s ten months before the movie comes out do you want to go back in and work on it?’ And I said, ‘Of course I do.'”
Reshoots generally do have a negative connotation, but Soderbergh said reshoots are actually a filmmaker’s dream. “I would love that opportunity on every film, but you don’t [always get it].”
“Haywire” includes an impressive array of screen talent including Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Angarano and more, so hopefully an official release date pops up soon.
Meanwhile, at the same lecture, the filmmaker also unveiled more details about the Leni Riefenstahl film he and “The Informant” writer Scott Z. Burns had intended to make about the infamous German film propaganda documentarian.
“She made long form music videos for the Nazis, basically,” Soderbergh said, explaining what their spin on the material would be. “[Scott] and I were working on it and I thought we had an interesting take on it which was: to see if we could make the audience root for her and treat Hitler and Goebbels as like the studio heads and treat her as the aggrieved artist who is being held back by Phillistines and to really flip the thing upside down. The job is not to judge your characters, your job is to present their point of view as they would want it presented so I thought, ‘Wow, that would be interesting if you could somehow over 90 minutes convince somebody to root for someone who probably on some level was pretty horrible.”
Interestingly enough, the Riefenstahl film is something that was fairly recent and actually came close to being made until Soderbergh’s cooler head prevailed. “What ended up happening was the day before we were supposed to ‘make the deal’ to make the movie I said to [Scott Z. Burns], ‘I don’t want to do this, nobody is going to see this, not even our friends,’ ” he admitted candidly. “I thought, ‘I’ve done this before, I’m not going to spend two years working on something that really, frankly, that has no chance of being seen by anybody.’ And it wouldn’t have been cheap. It would be cheap by most movie standards, but not cheap.”
As Soderbergh already mentioned recently at a Studio 360 chat in Omaha, Nebraska, the meeting was already set and they didn’t want to cancel it so the filmmaker asked the writer what else they could pitch. Burns said he wanted to make a “movie about a pandemic” that eventually turned into the virus thriller “Contagion,” which is already shot and arrives this fall on October 21st.
The filmmaker has basically already stated quite clearly that he has two films left in the queue — “Liberace” with Matt Damon and Micheal Douglas and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” with George Clooney — and then he’s out of the game. He’s tackled pretty much every genre known to man, but in describing his tastes, he did reveal one genre that he’d have never touched, impending retirement or otherwise.
“Fortunately I like all kinds of movies. As a result my interests are pretty broad as a filmmaker. If a film takes place in a millieu that I haven’t worked in or been exposed to before I’m already interested and then I’m trying to figure out ‘What’s the take? What’s our approach?” he then paused. “Except…I don’t like Westerns, or at least, I don’t watch them unless I’m forced to.”
For more on Soderbergh’s lecture, check out IndieWire’s report right here.