- FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
- Steven Soderbergh says he’s “too frustrated by the way that system works” to ever make a studio movie again.
- The Oscar winner believe his next movie, about the Panama Papers, will probably end up at Netflix.
Steven Soderbergh has spent his career distancing himself from the movie studio system unless there was no other option, and in today’s landscape of the majors only wanting to release huge franchise blockbusters, don’t expect the Oscar-winning director to have meetings on the lots anytime soon.
Soderbergh recently had a lengthy interview with Filmmaker Magazine to promote the Criterion Collection Blu-ray release of his feature debut “sex, lies, and videotape,” and when asked what the future held for him in regards to the kinds of movies he wants to make, he didn’t hold back.
“It’s difficult for me to imagine a scenario in which I would literally make a movie for a studio,” he said. “I’m too frustrated by the way that system works, both economically and creatively. That’s one of the reasons the Panama Papers project will probably end up at Netflix, because it’s right in that zone of movies that the studios are not interested in, mid-level budget movies for grown-ups.”
The project Soderbergh is referring to is his supposed next directing effort, “The Laundromat,” which will delve into the largest leak of corporate data in history back in 2015, revealing to the public many legal and illegal ways corporations and powerful people hide their money in offshore accounts.
Soderbergh said he was so convinced no studio would be interested that he didn’t even set up meetings.
“We didn’t even take it out,” he said. “We went to Netflix first and they seemed inclined to do it. And when we had a meeting, they said, ‘So we’re assuming you’re going to want some kind of theatrical release or festivals?’ And I said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care if it never shows in a theater and I don’t care if I ever go to a festival again. You do whatever you need to do to get eyeballs on this thing. If that’s the way you want to do it, that’s fine. I’m just telling you, I don’t care.’ I have a creative process now that I’m happy with, both in terms of developing projects and then making them and then putting them out. I’m now driven solely by what stories attract me.”
Distribution and creative control are two things Soderbergh has battled with his entire career. It’s partly why he “retired” from filmmaking briefly and took on painting. But at the same time, he’s never been precious about the theatrical experience.
From his 2005 low budget movie “Bubble,” which made headlines for being one of the first movies to have a simultaneous release in theaters and cable (which has become the norm now with many indie movies); to his current Fingerprint Releasing company, in which the director oversaw the entire marketing and release of his last two movies “Logan Lucky” and “Unsane” (both released theatrically by Bleecker Street); Soderbergh loves to mess with the established way of doing things.
His comments here just show the latest way he’s being a maverick to traditional Hollywood.