In a recent interview with Kurt Anderson, director Steven Soderbergh has announced that he will retire from making movies after his next two films. This isn’t the first time that he has hinted about wrapping up his career in Hollywood, but the man seems pretty well decided at this point.
When explaining why he doesn’t want to make movies anymore, Soderbergh said, “It’s just a sense of having been there before. The making of any art is problem solving, and as you work at it, you’re able to eliminate the versions that aren’t any good faster, but at a certain point the salves sort of become the same. And when I started feeling like I’ve done this shot before, I’ve done a scene that’s about this before, that’s when I started thinking seriously about a shift.” I guess he just couldn’t come up with a scenario for another big heist.
In all seriousness, Soderbergh is an important director and this will be a blow to movies in general. He did a lot to kick off the independent film movement of the 90s with his 1989 release of Sex, Lies, and Videotape. That film’s success worked as a model for how things that were low budget but interesting could gain an audience and make a lot of money.
The peak of his career probably came in 2000 when both Erin Brockovich and Traffic hit it big both critically and at the box office. But the man has made good films both before and after that, so a lot of people are going to be sad to see him go. Despite the protests, Soderbergh says, “I don’t want to leave, you know, when you see those athletes hang on one or two seasons too long, it’s kind of sad.” I think that’s a sports metaphor way of saying that he doesn’t want to be Francis Ford Coppola when he made Jack. Fair enough.
Soderbergh explains his current lack of enthusiasm, “When you reach the point where you’re like, if I have to get into a van to do anther scout I’m just going to shoot myself, it’s time to let somebody else who’s still excited about getting in the van, get in the van. And so it’s just time. For the last three years, I’ve been turning down everything that comes my way, so you’re not going to have Steven Soderbergh to kick around anymore.” Well, he still has to release both Liberace starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, and his version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. starring George Clooney, so we will at least have two more chances to kick him around. You know, for old times’ sake.