It was hard to swallow the fact that the man who gave us “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Traffic” and the “Ocean’s” franchise was leaving the movie biz when Steven Soderbergh started winding down his movie career around this time last year. We’ve learned more about his motives since then and have been treated to a newfound focus on TV.
The director talked to Esquire about what prompted the decision heard ’round the movie world. You can thank Matt Damon, who starred in his HBO miniseries “Behind the Candelabra,” for that.
“The fact that it became a story at all is because of Matt Damon,” Soderbergh told the mag. “He remembered verbatim a drunk conversation we had in Chicago and repeated it to USA Today. I’d talked about it before and nobody gave a shit. It wasn’t until Matt said that I had a plan to get out. ”
Soderbergh said the bottom line is he no longer enjoyed moviemaking.
“It just stopped being fun,” he said. “It really wasn’t. That’s a big deal to me. It may sound like ‘Why do you have to have fun to go to work?’ I don’t know. I like to be in a good mood. The ratio of bulls— to the fun part of doing the work was really starting to get out of whack.”
For now, we can look forward to his latest TV show, “The Knick,” starring Clive Owen as a doctor at New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital during the early 20th century. The show premieres on Cinemax on August 8.
Additionally, Starz recently ordered a series from Soderbergh and producer Philip Fleishman inspired by Soderbergh’s 2009 movie “The Girlfriend Experience.”