Steven Soderbergh Doesn’t Understand Why ‘Nobody’s F*cking’ in Superhero Movies

The director had plenty of questions about comic book films, including "who’s paying these people? Who do they work for?"
Director Steven Soderbergh walks the red carpet as he attends the screening of 'Mr. Kneff' during the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Steven Soderbergh continues to be one of Hollywood’s biggest directors, but don’t expect him to take on a superhero franchise anytime soon. In a new interview with The Daily Beast, the “Traffic” director said that he does not have the philosophical opposition to franchises that some of his peers do, but he has trouble wrapping his mind around stories that are not set in the real world.

When asked if he has considered making a superhero movie, Soderbergh’s answer was negative. “Not really, and I’m not a snob; it’s not that I feel it’s some lower tier in any way. It really becomes about what universe you occupy as a storyteller. I’m just too earthbound to really release myself to a universe in which Newtonian physics don’t exist. I just have a lack of imagination in that regard,” he said.

“Also, for a lot of these, for me to understand the world and how to write or supervise the writing of the story and the characters — apart from the fact that I can bend time and defy gravity and shoot beams out of my fingers — there’s no fucking. Nobody’s fucking! Like, I don’t know how to tell people how to behave in a world in which that is not a thing.”

The irony of superhero movies, with casts full of Hollywood’s most attractive stars, being so sexless has been pointed out by many filmmakers. But Soderbergh’s logistical concerns with the genre stretch far beyond that. “The fantasy-spectacle universe, as far as I can tell, typically doesn’t involve a lot of fucking, and also things like — who’s paying these people? Who do they work for? How does this job come to be?” he said.

Though Soderbergh wasn’t pointing straight at Marvel, the studio did release its first (though rather muted) sex scene in “Eternals” last fall.

Soderbergh’s pointed questions about superhero movie sex reveal the attention to detail that has made him a success, but also illustrate why he thinks he’d be a poor fit to direct one. But even without a superhero gig, the director has plenty to keep him busy. His new thriller “Kimi” debuts on HBO Max this week, and he is currently getting ready to direct a third “Magic Mike” movie, in addition to developing other film and television projects.

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