Steven Soderbergh retiring from films to direct theater and TV (again)


Steven Soderbergh has teased his retirement from Hollywood before, telling reporters that he didn't want to be like "those athletes [who] hang on one or two seasons too long," but always found a new project like 2012's Magic Mike to bring him back. This time, he seems serious, telling Vulture in an extended interview that he's giving up cinema for theatre, painting, and "a TV series if something great were to come along."

Soderbergh has made big-budget features, too, but the lean film style of his independent films is closer to the budget and emerging aesthetic of premium and digital TV. The director says he's hooked on David Fincher's forthcoming Netflix series House of Cards, plus AMC's Breaking Bad and HBO's Girls. A move to television's already been tipped in Behind the Candelabra, an HBO film starring two longtime collaborators: Traffic's Michael Douglas as pop culture icon Liberace and the Ocean's series' Matt Damon as his lover. Soderbergh says he took Candelabra to HBO after each Hollyood studio passed on releasing it in theaters as a $5 million low-budget feature.

Regardless, Soderbergh says, "the movie and TV business is, for all its inefficiencies, one of the best-run big businesses we have":

A big movie involves clothing, feeding, and moving thousands of people around the world on a tight schedule. Problems are solved creatively and efficiently within a budget, or your ass is out of work. So when I look at what’s going on in the government, the gridlock, I think, Wow, that’s a really inefficient way to run a railroad… Someone from Congress can’t take something from the other side because they’ll be punished by their own party? That’s stupid. If I were running for office, I would be poaching ideas from everywhere. That’s how art works. You steal from everything. I must remember to tweet that I’m in fact not running for office.

That's all right, Steven: your fans would much rather see what kind of series you could make for HBO, Netflix, AMC, or the web.

The Verge
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