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Steve Soderbergh explains why he's not doing any more feature films

10.02.2015

Hollywood really lost a good one when they essentially forced Steven Soderbergh out of the business of making feature films. It's not like he was blackballed or anything, and, if Soderbergh elected to return to the game, I'm sure he wouldn't have a hard time finding a studio to back something he might be interested in doing, but he chooses not to walk that path anymore.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Soderbergh revealed his reasons for walking away, and it's due to the way that aforementioned game has changed... and he's not a fan.

Just from my very personal, subjective point of view, I don't have an interest in making another theatrical film unless my attitude changes or the business changes. There are a series of things that have contributed to it I think the audiences have a played a role, the studios have a role in it but film is increasingly fear based in its decision-making, and that's not a good base to be creative.

Soderbergh certainly isn't wrong. Studios are increasingly moving toward a model where they are only greenlighting the properties they see as a sure thing. Granted, there are no guarantees in life, and, as a result, we wind up with things like TERMINATOR GENISYS or THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN films. The risk comes in taking no risk, and audiences can sour on seeing the same things over and over again, especially when they're not very good.

It kills the creative process that really should be fueling Hollywood to find the next big thing rather than milking the tried and true until they're stale. It also kills the imagiation process for movie-goers. You start to become numb to all the garbage that's being shoveled in front of you to the point that you'll just decide to spend your money elsewhere when you desire a night out.

That doesn't mean there aren't a number of excellent films that get released on a weekly basis. But, to Soderbergh's point, it's becoming more difficult to make them within a studio system, when such a paint-by-numbers approach is being taken.

Soderbergh also comments on what he enjoys about making content for television and the leeway he's been given to this point to really create something different that the studios would never touch, like a series adaptation of THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE.

That's [Starz CEO] Chris Albrecht, whom I've known a long time since he was at HBO. I said to him: "Let's talk about a number at which we can turn in the weirdest thing imaginable and you won't get hurt financially." He gave us a number and we said, "OK, we'll make it for that." I can tell you he is very much viewing this as a test case [or] a paradigm they can use for making series in the future. This is really auteur TV; it's like what I'm doing on The Knick, what Cary Fukunaga did on True Detective. One filmmaker doing the whole thing there's unification that comes with that [and you] can't do it any other way. This is a real philosophical shift, and it's making some people very nervous.

Who can blame Soderbergh for opting out of feature films? When you can get that sort of freedom and confidence in even your most experimental ideas, it's tough to leave that behind for some bullshit.

Soderbergh's THE KNICK returns to Showtime for Season 2 on October 16.

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12:48PM on 10/04/2015
Yea but does he really want his last film to be that stupid male stripper movie Magic Mike?
Yea but does he really want his last film to be that stupid male stripper movie Magic Mike?
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2:20AM on 10/04/2015
So does that mean no sequel to Haywire? That's a bummer.
So does that mean no sequel to Haywire? That's a bummer.
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6:01PM on 10/02/2015
You know what? As long as he keeps making "The Knick", I'm a happy man. That TV show is amazing.
You know what? As long as he keeps making "The Knick", I'm a happy man. That TV show is amazing.
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4:06PM on 10/02/2015
Interesting.
Interesting.
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