Soderbergh to direct ‘Girlfriend’

Koppelman, Levien to write script

Steven Soderbergh will direct “The Girlfriend Experience,” a feature that focuses on the world of prostitution from the vantage point of a $10,000-a-night call girl.

Brian Koppelman and David Levien will write; the pair hatched the project when they and Soderbergh were working on “Ocean’s Thirteen.”

Pic will be financed by 2929 Entertainment partners Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner through their HDNet label. It will become the second film — after “Bubble” — in the six-picture pact they made for Soderbergh to direct low-budget films that get distributed simultaneously in theatrical, on cable TV and on DVD.

Greg Jacobs (“The Good German”) will produce.

Rather than go for star power, Soderbergh may set an adult film actress to play the lead role. Soderbergh shot “Bubble” using mostly non-pros.

Project marks the director’s first exploration of sexual relationships since his breakthrough film, “sex, lies & videotape.”

Much the way that Coleman Hough and Soderbergh wrote a detailed outline for “Bubble” that was used as the basis for a partly improvisational shoot, Koppelman and Levien worked out the beats of the call- girl film with Soderbergh. The director waited until he shot two installments of his Spanish-language Che Guevara biopic before turning his attention to “The Girlfriend Experience.”

Soderbergh will lense “The Informant” with Matt Damon for Warner Bros. as his next film. Then he’ll turn to “The Girlfriend Experience,” which will be shot over 14 days this fall.

The title refers to a phenomenon in which wealthy men pay not just for the quality of a sexual encounter but also for a woman who will play the role of a perfect girlfriend. The arrangement apparently involves more intimacy than the usual prostitution relationship. Soderbergh, Koppelman and Levien interviewed numerous women and fixed on an interior look at a woman who makes $1 million a year in the business.

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