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Steven Soderbergh Now Denying Retirement From Filmmaking

Steven Soderbergh
Joe Corrigan/Getty Images

It's just a sabbatical," the "Contagion" director insists, a few days after saying he was leaving Hollywood to become a painter.

Steven Soderbergh isn't ready to leave filmmaking for good after all.

A few days after saying he was planning to retire from directing to become a painter, Soderbergh is now insisting that he isn't ready to completely leave Hollywood just yet.

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"It's less dramatic that it sounds; it's just a sabbatical," the director said at the Venice Film Festival, where his latest movie, Contagion, premiered Saturday.

"I feel I need to recalibrate, so I can discover something new," he told the Observer, as picked up by BBC News. "I'm out of ways of telling art."

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Just last week, he told the New York Times his retirement was going to become a reality.

"I'm interested in exploring another art form while I have the time and ability to do so," he said. "I'll be the first person to say if I can't be any good at it and run out of money I'll be back making another Ocean's movie."

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Soderbergh's retirement talk is nothing new: The director has been hinting about it since 2009, but he fueled the flames of speculation when he said in March that he had two more movies to make -- Liberace, starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, and Man From U.N.C.L.E., starring George Clooney, who has since bowed out -- and then he was done with directing.

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Meanwhile, Soderbergh did direct another film, the spy thriller Haywire, and is in preproduction on the Channing Tatum male stripper drama Magic Mike.

Contagion, which is competing at the Venice festival, is a thriller about a global pandemic that features an A-list ensemble including Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet.