In March this year, Hollywood ace director Steven Soderbergh announced that he was retiring from making films to concentrate on painting. He was quoted as saying, “If I have to get into a van to do another scout, I’m just going to shoot myself.”
But the Sex, Lies And Videotape (1989) and Erin Brockovich (2000) director now says otherwise. “I am not retiring, but disappearing for a while. It’s not that I want to. I need to,” says Steven, whose film Contagion hits theatres this Friday. Justifying the fatigue, he adds, “I’ve been running really fast for quite a while. It’s been non-stop since Out Of Sight (1998). That’s a lot of work.”
Over the last two decades, the Academy award-winning filmmaker (for Traffic, 2000) has directed 34 films and produced various titles. However, before he heads off for his “sabbatical”, he has a few projects including Liberace with Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to finish. “Eighteen months,” he answers, when asked how long he has left before his vanishing act. “In a few weeks, I start shooting a male stripper movie with Channing Tatum. We worked together on Haywire (due for release). Then I’m going to do Man From U.N.C.L.E in February 2012 and Liberace in June.”
So what’s the plan? “Interview people. I’ve done it a couple of times and I enjoyed it. I did a book of interviews with a filmmaker and it was great to walk him through things and ask ‘How was this done?’ ‘How was this accomplished?’ I love process. I’m a process person. I like talking about how things were done as opposed to what they mean.”
Meanwhile, his forthcoming production, featuring a gamut of Hollywood actors including Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Kate Winslet, deals with a highly contagious fatal disease and a team of doctors out to find a cure. Is there any film he looks back on every time he thinks of retiring? “For me, all of the pleasure is in the making of the film. Once they’re done and delivered, I move on,” says the filmmaker.