Steven Soderbergh Decries Director Treatment From Film Studios, Producers

The Hollywood Reporter
Steven Soderbergh Decries Director Treatment From Film Studios, Producers
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Steven Soderbergh Decries Director Treatment From Film Studios, Producers

After years of speculation, denials and a hit male stripper movie, Steven Soderbergh is officially releasing his last theatrical movie.

The Oscar winner, whose pyschological-pharmeceutical thriller Side Effects hits theaters in early February, is ending a two-and-a-half decade run as one of America's premier filmmakers to concentrate on other interests -- and he doesn't seem all that wistful about leaving cinema. In a new interview with New York Magazine, Soderbergh laments the way the film world has evolved during his 24-year career, especially when it comes to studio-filmmaker interaction.

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"The worst development in filmmaking -- particularly in the last five years -- is how badly directors are treated. It’s become absolutely horrible the way the people with the money decide they can fart in the kitchen, to put it bluntly," he says in a long interview. "It’s not just studios -- it’s anyone who is ­financing a film. I guess I don’t understand the assumption that the director is presumptively wrong about what the audience wants or needs when they are the first audience, in a way. And probably got into making movies ­because of being in that audience."

"But an alarming thing I learned during Contagion is that the people who pay to make the movies and the audiences who see them are actually very much in sync," he adds. Side Effects, his final film (at least for now), stars Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Jude Law in a story about a financial criminal, a depressed wife, a psychiatrist and a murder.

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"It’s true that when I was growing up, there was a sort of division: Respect was accorded to people who made great movies and to people who made movies that made a lot of money. And that division just doesn’t exist anymore: Now it’s just the people who make a lot of money," the director laments.

"I think there are many reasons for that. Some of them are cultural. I’ve said before, I think that the audience for the kinds of movies I grew up liking has migrated to television. The format really allows for the narrow and deep approach that I like," Soderbergh reasons. "Three and a half million people watching a show on cable is a success. That many people seeing a movie is not a success. I just don’t think movies matter as much anymore, culturally."

Fitting; his next project is a biopic of Liberace, which will air on HBO.

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