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?
Soderbergh's message is mixed
Full Frontal represents yet another new path for popular, experimental
By Carla Meyer
(San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2002)
Steven Soderbergh, 39, is the
hottest director in Hollywood. Every movie star wants to work with him,
and many of them do, given his penchant for big casts ("Traffic," "Ocean's
Eleven"). Soderbergh's latest ensemble piece, "Full Frontal,"
opens Friday in the Bay Area and stars Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood,
Catherine Keener, David Duchovny and David Hyde Pierce, with cameos by
nearly everyone else.
Nobody actually goes full frontal, but the picture lifts the curtain on
the movie business, mixing pungent satire with relationship drama in a
daringly multilayered movie-within-a-movie structure. Soderbergh shot the
film in two weeks and for just $2 million. His digital camera work lends
the movie an intimate look reminiscent of his 1989 breakthrough film, "sex,
lies & videotape." There's just a lot more going on in this one.
Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, Soderbergh is genial and forthright.
He's also unfazed by what he says has been a violently mixed reaction to
the new movie in previews. It's all part of the experiment.
Q: Is "Full Frontal" a follow-up to "sex, lies & videotape"?
A: Well, the way I sort of pitched it to Miramax was, look, if I were
starting out and was making a character-oriented movie (like "sex, lies
& videotape") today for a very limited budget, this is the movie I
it as the karmic sequel, in that it's only interested in character and
there's a lot of discussion about sex. It was also the karmic sequel to (Soderbergh's
idiosyncratic 1996 film) "Schizopolis." But I wasn't about to tell
Q: The movie is very inside-Hollywood. Do you think the audience will
get all the references?
A: I don't think it matters. I wasn't really thinking about it. It's kind
of like, the world of the movie interests you or it doesn't. If it does,
you'll be willing to ride out things that seem odd or things that you
Q: You shot the film very quickly and required the actors to drive
themselves to the set and do their own hair and makeup. Why did you do it
A: All this was set up before "Ocean's Eleven," and I guess I was
anticipating that I would very much want and need to have this kind of
experience after that one. I was really thinking of it being a two-pack
with "Ocean's Eleven," and I wanted that balance. I wanted to make this
one to punish the people who liked "Ocean's Eleven." (Laughs)
Q: Did the actors stick to your rules? Did anybody show up not quite
A: No. Vanity is a very powerful motivator, and I had told them they might
be photographed getting out of their cars.
Q: Catherine Keener and Terence Stamp, who are in "Full Frontal,"
said they had no idea what the film was about when they shot their parts.
Did you keep the actors in the dark?
A: (Laughs) Yeah, purposely. It was part of the whole idea of giving the
actors total responsibility for their characters. . . . If someone was
drifting off course from the movie I wanted to make, I would say
But I didn't
sit there and have discussions about (their roles). That was part of the
Q: A running theme in the movie is characters' "porn-star" names, which
supposedly are derived by combining one's middle name with the street one
grew up on. What's yours?
A: Andrew Highland, which is David Hyde Pierce's in the movie.
Q: Is his character, a magazine writer and screenwriter, your alter
A: I don't know. I feel like none of them and I feel like all of them, and
I'm not being flip. Some of the characters are like the nightmare version
of yourself. I worry about that, like, "Oh my God, do I come off like
him?" I've had the experience of being like these people or interacting
with people like this.
Q: "Full Frontal" has references to the agonies of turning 40,
and it's built around the event of a 40th birthday party. Does that have
anything to do with the fact that you're 39?
A: Coleman Hough, the (movie's) writer, was turning 40 at the time when we
were looking very intensely at the script, and (George) Clooney (who
starred in "Ocean's Eleven") had turned 40, so it was something in
the air, and it worked really well as a reason (in the script) to get
everybody together. I'll be 40 in January, and to date, I don't feel
anything in particular
Q: You seem to want to mix it up every time out. Why is each of your
projects so different?
A: Not out of any motive beyond not wanting to get bored. Everybody is
different. Some people are content to make a certain kind of film
repeatedly. Either because of restlessness or dilettantism, the idea of
having a similar experience to the one I just had makes me anxious.
Q: Your next film, "Solaris," is a science fiction movie
starring Clooney. Did you already shoot it?
A: I'm in the process of cutting it now. It comes out in December.
Q: What are you doing after that?
A: I'm taking a year off.
Q: How many movies did you make in a row?
A: Seven. I need a rest.