Steven Soderbergh’s directorial career has included Oscar-winning dramas (“Traffic,” “Eric Brockovich”), science-fiction mind-benders (“Solaris”), heist comedies (“Ocean’s Eleven”), historical epics (“Che”) and more, but he has never crossed over into making a Hollywood superhero tentpole. Don’t expect him too, either.
Speaking to The Daily Beast ahead of the streaming release of his new thriller “Kimi,” Soderbergh said he’s not approached to direct superhero franchises nor does he envision writing one. The filmmaker said it’d be almost impossible for him to work in the superhero space since the characters are completely sexless.
“I’m not a snob; it’s not that I feel it’s some lower tier in any way. It really becomes about what universe you occupy as a storyteller,” Soderbergh said. “I’m just too earthbound to really release myself to a universe in which Newtonian physics don’t exist [laughs]. I just have a lack of imagination in that regard, which is why the one foray I had into pure science-fiction [2002’s ‘Solaris’] was essentially a character drama that happened to be set on a spaceship.”
“Also, for a lot of these, for me to understand the world and how to write or supervise the writing of the story and the characters — apart from the fact that I can bend time and defy gravity and shoot beams out of my fingers — there’s no fucking,” Soderbergh continued. “Nobody’s fucking! Like, I don’t know how to tell people how to behave in a world in which that is not a thing…the fantasy-spectacle universe, as far as I can tell, typically doesn’t involve a lot of fucking, and also things like — who’s paying these people? Who do they work for? How does this job come to be?”
Marvel Studios generated headlines last fall when “Eternals” depicted the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first sex scene between characters, although the moment was brief and only included the faces of the two characters involved. “Eternals” director Chloe Zhao told Variety the sex scene was “in the treatment” for “Eternals” that she read before she came on board to direct the movie.
“You can’t tell a mature love story if you’re not gonna do some kind of…” Zhao said, trailing off. “It’s lovely to see two people show physical affection for each other — a kiss, make love.”
As for Soderbergh, the director’s cyber-thriller “Kimi” streams on HBO Max starting Thursday.