8th February: Side Effects released (US)
15th March: Side Effects released (UK)
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LET THEM ALL TALK
Photos | Official website
Photos | Official website
NEW & UPCOMING DVDS
Now available from Amazon.com:
Now available from Amazon.co.uk:
DVDs that include an audio commentary track from Steven:
Clean, Shaven - Criterion Collection
The Graduate (40th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
The Third Man - Criterion Collection
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Steven Soderbergh interview
by Jenny Brown
Few directors have had as
auspicious a debut as Steven Soderbergh, who in 1989 changed the landscape
of American independent filmmaking with his all-talk and little-action
drama sex, lies, and videotape. Made for $1.2 million and screened
at the Sundance Film Festival, it went on to gross almost $25 million in
the U.S. alone and nabbed the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Ever
since, Soderbergh has gone his own way, and worked on small art-house
films (King of the Hill, The Underneath) instead of signing a big
studio deal. When he did start making bigger movies, he came up with a
critical hit (Out of Sight in 1998) and the phenomenally successful
Erin Brockovich, garnering Oscar buzz for both himself and star
Julia Roberts. However, Traffic has the industry wondering if he'll
be the first filmmaker since Herbert Ross in 1977 to have directed two
Best Picture nominees. A searing look at the drug trafficking industry,
it's an ensemble piece extraordinaire, featuring newlyweds Michael Douglas
and Catherine Zeta-Jones and consummate character actors Benicio Del Toro
and Don Cheadle. Amazon.com's Jenny Brown talked with Soderbergh in Los
Angeles about the movie's radical film techniques, and handling a large
Amazon.com: One of the things that really intrigued me is that you
adhere to a lot of the tenets of the Dogma 95 methods of shooting film
with natural lighting and hand-held cameras, yet you certainly do a lot of
manipulation of the film stocks and colors. Where do you draw the line?
What was your thinking in doing all this?
Soderbergh: Well, I thought it would be interesting to combine some
of the aspects of the Dogma movement with aspects of traditional Hollywood
filmmaking, borrow some of the aesthetics but use them in the service of a
thriller that happens to have movie stars in it. My idea was that that
could be interesting. I guess we'll find out soon if I was right.
Amazon.com: The Tijuana scenes are grainier, almost portraying it
as this corrupt, washed-out place. Do you really feel that the corruption
is as pervasive as it seems in this movie?
Soderbergh: Well, when you get into this issue specifically, yeah,
there's a lot of systemic corruption that will be difficult to rule out,
although I think the incoming president in Mexico is very committed to
trying to effect some changes there. But it's because of the enormous
amounts of money involved that they are the conduit. The demand is over
here, and they are the conduit for all of these drugs to move across. And
so when you're talking about, you know, a lot of people who don't have a
lot of money and then you bring in very powerful cartels who have a lot of
money, you can't be surprised that some people get caught up in it.
Amazon.com: The scenes shot in Mexico are almost entirely in
Spanish. What was it like directing in another language?
Soderbergh: You get a sense of it. I took a couple years of Spanish
in junior high. But between the dialect people that we had with us and the
context and repetition, you got a feel for it after awhile. You knew what
they were saying.
Amazon.com: How much of the original British miniseries Traffik
did you use in the film?
Soderbergh: Two of the stories from the original miniseries are
sort of still there. Michael Douglas's story and Catherine Zeta-Jones's
story both track fairly closely to the original miniseries. The third
story, which in the miniseries involved Pakistan and a grower in Pakistan,
we had to get rid of completely. So the Mexico section of the feature film
was created from scratch.
Amazon.com: You have a lot of actors in this film--it's a great
ensemble piece--and I imagine everyone came to you with their own ideas
about their characters. How do you create a balance between your vision of
the characters and the actors' visions of their characters?
Soderbergh: You just listen. And ideas that seem in sync with what
you want to do, you incorporate. But the key is to keep the lines of
communication open so that the actors feel like they can offer an opinion
or a suggestion at any time.
Amazon.com: You have a lot of real-life senators, DEA people in
this film. How did you go about gathering so many people together and
deciding who could be in the film?
Soderbergh: Well, in the case of the Georgetown cocktail party, we
sent a lot of letters out to people on both sides of the issue. And the
ones that showed up, we shot them giving their real opinions. That stuff
was all off-the-cuff. And they were really good. I mean, they do this
day-in and day-out, but they were pretty good at playing themselves.
Amazon.com: Have they seen the film yet?
Amazon.com: Are you worried about their reaction?
Soderbergh: Nope. You take your chances with everybody else, you