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Soderbergh on his ‘retirement’: ‘It stopped being fun’

Soderbergh on his ‘retirement’: ‘It stopped being fun’



The running line about Steven Soderbergh in the last few years has been that he’s the most prolific retired filmmaker today, supposedly having given up film for good and turned his mind toward other mediums and projects. And in the short time since February 2013 when his official “last film” Side Effects was released, he’s been busy at work with the HBO movie Behind the Candelabra, the Cinemax show The Knick and a Broadway production called The Library.

But Soderbergh Monday clarified his “retirement” in an interview with Esquire.

“The bottom line when people talk about all the reasons, you know the biggest reason? It stopped being fun. It just stopped being fun. It really wasn’t. That’s a big deal to me,” Soderbergh said. ” The ratio of bullshit to the fun part of doing the work was really starting to get out of whack.”

Soderbergh added that the real reason anyone called this cinema dry spell a “retirement” is because Matt Damon relayed a drunk conversation the two had to USA Today.

In the interview, which is worth a full read, Soderbergh talks briefly about his stage production The Library, which he describes as being about “The next school shooting”, a “clear brandy” he’s put his name on called Singani, some ideas he has about assholes and why he feels our society needs a new enlightenment, and the challenges of producing a series.

“We wanted a commitment and we had to start shooting in September. The good news was they said yes. The bad news was now we got to write nine hours in two and a half months and prep for a 10-hour period piece,” Soderbergh said. “We had to shoot nine pages a day and I was really scared.”

That might be a surprising quote from a guy who has had eight film projects since 2010 alone, but he added that the added runtime of TV allowed for him to go deeper into his story, and if he didn’t agree to sign onto this project as soon as he read it, the next guy who did would.

“Nobody’s talking about movies the way they’re talking about their favorite TV shows,” Soderbergh said. “I’ve never been a snob. It’s just about stories. And I’ve never felt just because it’s a big screen and you plop down your eight bucks that gives it a special meaning. It’s just “Are you good at telling a story?”