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As long suspected, Steven Soderbergh has confirmed that he’ll be taking a step back from Hollywood. His plans for a potential comeback, though, might come as a surprise.
The director of this weekend’s stripper dramedy Magic Mike and an Oscar winner for 2000’s Traffic, Soderbergh says he has aims on refocusing a 27-year film career on television.
“American movie audiences now just don’t seem to be very interested in any kind of ambiguity or any kind of real complexity of character or narrative — I’m talking in large numbers, there are always some, but enough to make hits out of movies that have those qualities,” he told the Associated Press. “I think those qualities are now being seen on television and that people who want to see stories that have those kinds of qualities are watching television.”
Soderbergh has two more projects on the way: The Bitter Pill, which reteams him with Magic Mike‘s Channing Tatum and co-stars Jude Law and Rooney Mara; and Behind the Candelabra, the HBO Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. It was Damon who first broke the news that Soderbergh, 49, was looking to take some time off.
“He wants to paint, and he says he’s still young enough to have another career,” Damon told the Los Angeles Times in January 2011. “He’s kind of exhausted with everything that interested him in terms of form. He’s not interested in telling stories. Cinema interested him in terms of form and that’s it. He says, ‘If I see another over-the-shoulder shot, I’m going to blow my brains out.’ “
Soderbergh later said that Damon had blown his statements out of context, but then confirmed last summer that he was looking to satisfy himself creatively with another form.
“I’m interested in exploring another art form while I have the time and ability to do so,” he told The New York Times. “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.”
As for the TV route, Soderbergh would be following many film actors who have turned to the small screen; there have been plenty of successful, Oscar-winning directors to also head to TV, though often in more of a producing capacity (see: Steven Spielberg).
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