In the year 2013, after releasing the movie Side Effects, Steven Soderbergh decided that directing movies was not fun anymore and announced his retirement. Since Side Effects was to be his last theatrical film, all the actors in that cast felt honored to be included in his last big fling.
Actors like working with director Soderbergh
Actors who have worked with Soderbergh have appreciated the opportunity because he is said to create a great environment, work fast, and doesn’t stop for naps or endless takes. Every actor in Side Effects said that Soderbergh did a lot of the work for them. There weren’t many holes in the script.
For Catherine Zeta-Jones, this was the third time working with him. She was drawn to the Side Effects script because “it gets inside the mind. The audience has to think.”
Channing Tatum had to change his rough and tumble persona to play a white-collar character. Soderbergh also wanted the actor to change the way he spoke, which Tatum found most challenging. An accent would not have been a problem, but normal speech is difficult.
Rooney Mara prepared for her part as a depressed person by talking to people who suffer from depression and by watching YouTube videos on the topic.
Vinessa Shaw, who plays Dierdre Banks in the movie, said she had to battle internal insecurity, and to keep from thinking, “I’m not good enough.”
Soderbergh not really “retired”
Every actor expressed regret that Soderbergh would not direct anymore, but they need not worry. Soderbergh has not been living anywhere near a “retired state” for the past three years. He told GQ, “I want to be there, but I don’t want to be the director. I want to be in the band, but I don’t want to be the front man this time.”
He had his first attempt at the New York stage with his off-Broadway show, “The Library,” which follows the aftermath of a school shooting. “I’m defining the success of this play by how scared I was doing it.”
Other projects included directing 10 episodes of “The Knick,” editing movies that are not his own: Psycho and Heaven’s Gate, importing Bolivian liquor that dates back to 1530, which he learned about while filming Che (2008a, 2008b) in 2007, and tweeting an entire novella. (Remember that’s 140 characters at a time.)
He has a website, Extension 765, which is a place for his random thoughts about film, cable TV, and anything else on his mind. He also posts the movies he’s seen, books he’s read, and TV shows he has watched.
Will he return to directing feature films?
Will Steven Soderbergh go back to directing big time movies? The word is, “Yes.” He may take on The Panama Papers (Fleming, 2016), a movie based on Jake Bernstein’s forthcoming book, Secrecy World, about the biggest data leak in history (Stack, Erlanger, Rousseau, Forsythe, MacFarquhar, & Castle, 2016).
Let’s hope this news is correct. Then maybe from there, he can do Toole’s, A Confederacy of Dunces (1980).
Bernstein, J. (forthcoming in 2017). Secrecy World. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
Bickford, L., del Toro, B. (Producers), & Soderbergh, S. (Director). (2008a). Che: The Argentine [Motion Picture]. United States: IFC Films.
Bickford, L., del Toro, B. (Producers), & Soderbergh, S. (Director). (2008b). Che: Guerilla [Motion Picture]. United States: IFC Films.
di Bonaventura, L., Jacobs, G., & Burns, S. (Producers), & Soderbergh, S. (Director). (2013). Side Effects [Motion Picture]. United States: OpenRoad Films.
Fleming, M., Jr. (2016, Jul 6). Steven Soderbergh Plots Panama Papers Film Based on Jake Bernstein Book ‘Secrecy World’. Retrieved Sept 2016 from https://deadline.com/2016/07/steven-soderbergh-panama-papers-movie-jake-bernstein-secrecy-world-scott-burns-1201783424/
Nadkarni, R. (2016, Jul 7). The Panama Papers Are Getting the Steven Soderbergh Treatment. GQ. Retrieved from https://www.gq.com/story/panama-papers-steven-soderbergh
Obermayer, B., & Obermaier, F. (2016). The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide their Money. London : Oneworld Publications.
Stack, L., Erlanger, S., Rousseau, B., Forsythe, M., MacFarquhar, N., & Castle, S. (2016, Apr 4). The Panama Papers: Here’s What We Know. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/05/world/panama-papers-explainer.html
Toole, J.K. (1980). A Confederacy of Dunces. Baton Rouge: LSU Press.