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After years of speculation, denials and a hit male-stripper movie, Steven Soderbergh says in a new magazine profile that he really is releasing his last theatrical movie.
The Oscar winner, whose pyschological-pharmeceutical thriller Side Effects hits theaters in early February, is ending a quarter-century 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.
“The worst development in filmmaking — particularly in the last five years — is how badly directors are treated,” he says in a long interview. “It’s become absolutely horrible the way the people with the money decide they can fart in the kitchen, to put it bluntly. It’s not just studios — it’s 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.”
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.
“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,” the director laments. “And that division just doesn’t exist anymore: Now it’s just the people who make a lot of money.
“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.”
Fittingly, his next project is Behind the Candelabra, a Liberace biopic that will air on HBO.