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Steven Soderbergh

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K Street, Totally Hoops

Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Film producer

Steven Soderbergh

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Full Name
Steven Andrew Soderbergh

January 14, 1963 (age 61) (

Director, cinematographer, screenwriter, producer, editor

Peter Andrew SoderberghMary Ann Bernard

Jules Asner (m. 2003), Betsy Brantley (m. 1989–1994)

Magic Mike, Ocean's Eleven, Side Effects, Contagion, Sex - Lies - and Videotape

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Steven Andrew Soderbergh (; born January 14, 1963) is an American film producer, director, screenwriter, cinematographer and editor. His indie drama Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and became a worldwide commercial success, making the then-26-year-old Soderbergh the youngest director to win the festival's top award. Film critic Roger Ebert dubbed Soderbergh the "poster boy of the Sundance generation".


Steven Soderbergh Steven Soderbergh to Direct 10 Episodes of THE KNICK with

He is best known for directing critically acclaimed commercial Hollywood films including the crime comedy Out of Sight (1998), the biographical film Erin Brockovich (2000), the crime drama film Traffic (2000) (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director), the 2001 remake of the comedy heist film Ocean's 11 and its two sequels—known collectively as the Ocean's Trilogy, the medical thriller Contagion (2011) and the comedy-drama Magic Mike (2012).

Steven Soderbergh Steven Soderbergh to Paint Observer

He has also directed smaller, less conventional works, such as the mystery thriller Kafka (1991); the experimental comedy film Schizopolis (1996), which has a non-linear narrative; Bubble (2005), which uses no script and non-professional actors; the experimental drama film The Girlfriend Experience (2009), which starred the then-active pornographic actress Sasha Grey; and the biopic about Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Che (2008). Soderbergh also directed, photographed and edited all episodes of the television drama The Knick. In addition, he has produced numerous film and television programs, and provided cinematography and editing on various projects.

Steven Soderbergh David Thomson profiles Steven Soderbergh Film The Guardian

Director s cut steven soderbergh

Early life and education

Steven Soderbergh Steven Soderbergh Talks PostRetirement Plans Painting

Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Mary Ann (née Bernard) and Peter Andrew Soderbergh, who was a university administrator and educator. His father's ancestry was Swedish and Irish; his paternal grandfather was an emigrant from Stockholm. His mother was of Italian, and "a little Irish", descent. As a child, he moved with his family to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he lived during his adolescence, then to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where his father became Dean of Education at Louisiana State University. In Baton Rouge, he discovered filmmaking as a teenager, directing short Super 8 mm films with equipment borrowed from LSU students. He has a brother, Charley.

Steven Soderbergh Steven Soderbergh Talks His Preferred Digital Cameras His

While the family resided in Baton Rouge, Soderbergh's mother appeared regularly on 2une In, the early-morning show of local ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV (broadcast channel 2), as a "call-in" psychic, and taught adult-education and "alternative education" classes in "parapsychology" at LSU. His primary high school education was at Louisiana State University Laboratory School, a K–12 school that is directed by the University. While still taking classes there around the age of 15, Soderbergh enrolled in the university's film animation class and began making short 16 mm films with secondhand equipment.

Rather than attend LSU, Soderbergh tried his luck in Hollywood after graduating from high school; he worked as a game show scorer and cue card holder to make ends meet, and eventually found work as a freelance film editor. His big break came when he directed the Grammy-nominated concert video 9012Live for the rock band Yes in 1985.

1989: Sex, Lies, and Videotape

It was not until Soderbergh came back to Baton Rouge that he conceived the idea for Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), which he wrote in eight days. The independent film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, became a worldwide commercial success and contributed to the 1990s independent film revolution. At age 26, Soderbergh became the second youngest director to win the festival's top award (after French director Louis Malle who won for Le Monde du Silence). Movie critic Roger Ebert dubbed Soderbergh the "poster boy of the Sundance generation".

1993 to 1998

Sex, Lies, and Videotape was followed by a series of low-budget box-office disappointments: Kafka, a biopic mixing fact and Kafka's own fiction (notably The Castle and The Trial), written by Lem Dobbs and starring Jeremy Irons as Franz Kafka; King of the Hill (1993), a critically acclaimed Depression-era drama; The Underneath (1995), a remake of Robert Siodmak's 1949 film noir Criss Cross; and Schizopolis (1996), a comedy which he starred in, wrote, composed, and shot as well as directed. He also directed the Spalding Gray monologue film Gray's Anatomy in 1996.

Making good on his Schizopolis-inspired "artistic wake-up call", his commercial slump ended in 1998 with Out of Sight, a stylized adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel, written by Scott Frank and starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. The film was widely praised, though only a moderate box-office success. It reaffirmed Soderbergh's potential, sparking the beginnings of a lucrative artistic partnership between Clooney and Soderbergh.

1999 and 2000

Soderbergh followed up on the success of Out of Sight by making another crime caper, The Limey (1999), from a screenplay by Lem Dobbs and starring veteran actors Terence Stamp and Peter Fonda. The film was well-received, but not as much as Erin Brockovich (2000), written by Susannah Grant and starring Julia Roberts in her Oscar-winning role as a single mother taking on industry in a civil action. Later that year, Soderbergh released Traffic, a social drama written by Stephen Gaghan and featuring an ensemble cast.

Traffic became his most acclaimed movie since Sex, Lies, and Videotape, and earned him an Academy Award for Best Director. He was also nominated that same year for Erin Brockovich. He is the only director to have been nominated in the same year for Best Director for two different films by the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the Directors Guild of America. The double nomination was the first in 60 years. (In 1938, Michael Curtiz was nominated twice, for Angels with Dirty Faces and Four Daughters, but did not win for either film.)

2001 to 2004

Ocean's Eleven (2001), a Ted Griffin-scripted remake from a Rat Pack-movie from 1960, featuring an all-star cast and flashy aesthetics, is Soderbergh's highest-grossing movie to date, grossing more than $183 million domestically and more than $450 million worldwide. The film's star, George Clooney, subsequently appeared in Solaris (2002), marking the third time the two have headlined a film. In the same year, Soderbergh made Full Frontal, which was shot mostly on digital video in an improvisational style that deliberately blurred the line between which actors were playing characters and which were playing fictionalized versions of themselves. A film within a film, the title is a film industry reference to an actor or actress appearing fully nude (a.k.a., "full frontal nudity"). Also in 2002, Soderbergh was elected First Vice President of the Directors Guild of America.

Following up Full Frontal stylistically was Soderbergh next project, K Street (2003), a ten-part political HBO series he co-produced with Clooney. The series was noteworthy for being both partially improvised and each episode being produced in the five days prior to airing to take advantage of topical events that could be worked into the fictional narrative. Actual political players appeared as themselves, either in cameos or portraying fictionalized versions of themselves (as were the leads, real life husband and wife James Carville and Mary Matalin). The show caused a stir during the 2004 Democratic Primary when Carville gave candidate Howard Dean a soundbite during a location shoot that Dean then used in a debate.

In 2004, Soderbergh directed Ocean's Twelve, a sequel to Ocean's Eleven.

2005 to 2009

In 2005, Soderbergh raised eyebrows with Bubble, a $1.6 million film featuring a cast of nonprofessional actors. It opened in selected theaters and HDNet simultaneously, and four days later on DVD. Industry heads were reportedly watching how the film performed, as its unusual release schedule could have implications for future feature films. Theater-owners, who at the time had been suffering from dropping attendance rates, did not welcome so-called "day-and-date" movies. National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian indirectly called the film's release model "the biggest threat to the viability of the cinema industry today."

Soderbergh's response to such criticism: "I don't think it's going to destroy the movie-going experience any more than the ability to get takeout has destroyed the restaurant business." The film did poor business both at the box office and on the home video market. Nevertheless, Soderbergh is on contract to deliver five more day-and-date movies. In fall of 2006 he contributed a mini-essay on hotel pornography, along with an accompanying series of long-exposure photographs, to Anthem magazine's November/December issue.

A romantic drama set in post-war Berlin, The Good German, starring Cate Blanchett and Clooney, was released in late 2006.

The sixth pairing of Clooney and Soderbergh, Ocean's Thirteen, was released in June 2007. Also in 2007, Soderbergh and Tony Gilroy contributed an audio commentary to the DVD re-release of The Third Man by the Criterion Collection.

On May 22, 2008, Che, which was released in theatres in two parts titled The Argentine and Guerrilla, was presented in the main competition of the 2008 Cannes film festival. Benicio del Toro plays Argentine guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara in an epic four-hour double bill which looks first at his role in the Cuban revolution before moving to his campaign and eventual death in Bolivia.

Soderbergh shot his feature film The Girlfriend Experience in New York in 2008. The film's lead actress is adult film star Sasha Grey.

His next film was 2009's The Informant! a black comedy starring Matt Damon as corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre. Whitacre wore a wire for two and a half years for the FBI as a high-level executive at a Fortune 500 company, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), in one of the largest price-fixing cases in history. The film was released on September 18, 2009. The script for the movie was written by Scott Z. Burns based on Kurt Eichenwald's book, The Informant.

In 2009, Soderbergh directed a play titled Tot-Mom for the Sydney Theatre Company in Sydney, Australia. The play is based on the real-life case of Caylee Anthony. Rehearsals commenced in early November 2009, and the production opened December 2009. Soderbergh also shot a small improvised film with the cast of the play, The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg, a comedy about a theatre company staging Chekhov's Three Sisters. He has stated that he does not want it seen by the public, and only intended it for the cast.

Early 2010s

In 2010, Soderbergh shot the action-thriller Haywire, starring Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and Channing Tatum which, even though was shot in early 2010, was not released until January 2012. The film's end credits include "In Loving Memory of Blake Asner" dedicating the film to Soderbergh's cat that died while he was completing the film's post production.

In the fall of 2010, he shot the epic virus thriller Contagion, written by Scott Z. Burns. With a star-studded cast including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law, the film follows the outbreak of a lethal pandemic across the globe and the efforts of doctors and scientists to discover the cause and develop a cure. It was released on September 9, 2011.

In August 2011, Soderbergh served as a second unit director on The Hunger Games and filmed much of the District 11 riot scene.

In September and October 2011, he shot Magic Mike, a film starring Channing Tatum, about the actor's experiences working as a male stripper in his youth. Tatum played the title mentor character, while Alex Pettyfer played a character based on Tatum. The film was released on June 29, 2012.

His next project, the psychological thriller Side Effects, starred Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It was shot in April 2012 and was released on February 8, 2013. It also screened at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.

Behind the Candelabra, his final film before his much publicized hiatus, was shot in the summer of 2012. It stars Michael Douglas as legendarily flamboyant pianist Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover Scott Thorson. The film is written by Richard LaGravenese, based on Thorson's book Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, and produced by HBO Films. Soderbergh had to go the TV route when no film studio would finance the film. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Feature Filmmaking Hiatus (2013-2016)

Soderbergh had announced in numerous interviews his intention to retire from feature filmmaking. He stated that "when you reach the point where you're saying, 'If I have to get into a van to do another scout, I'm just going to shoot myself,' it's time to let somebody who's still excited about getting in the van, get in the van." Soderbergh later said that he would retire from filmmaking and begin to explore painting. A few weeks later, Soderbergh played down his earlier comments, saying a film-making "sabbatical" was more accurate. In the end, while promoting Side Effects in early 2013, he clarified that he had a five-year plan that saw him transitioning away from making feature films around his fiftieth birthday. Around that time, he gave a much publicized speech at the San Francisco International Film Festival, detailing the obstacles facing filmmakers in the current corporate Hollywood environment.

In May 2013, Soderbergh announced that he would direct a 10-part miniseries for Cinemax. Called The Knick, it follows doctors at a fictionalized version of the Knickerbocker Hospital in Manhattan in the early twentieth century. The series stars Clive Owen, Andre Holland, Jeremy Bobb, Juliet Rylance, Eve Hewson and Michael Angarano and was filmed in the fall of 2013. It began airing in August 2014 to critical acclaim. After completing the second season, Soderbergh revealed he was finished directing for the show and said, "I told them [Cinemax] that I'm going to do the first two years and then we are going to break out the story for seasons 3 and 4 and try and find a filmmaker or filmmakers to do this the way that I did. This is how we want to do this so that every two years, whoever comes on, has the freedom to create their universe."

Soderbergh helped Spike Jonze with his film Her. The original cut ran over 150 minutes and Jonze asked Soderbergh to "do his own quick, gut-instinct cut", which he did, cutting the film down to 90 minutes. This was not the final version of the film but it allowed Jonze to remove unnecessary plots.

In January 2014, Soderbergh announced that he was going to be working on an Off-Broadway play titled The Library, and that Chloë Grace Moretz would star.

It was announced in June 2014 that Soderbergh would be executive producing a series based on his earlier film The Girlfriend Experience for the Starz network, to premiere sometime in 2016. In September 2015, Soderbergh was announced to be directing a series for HBO titled Mosaic. It stars Sharon Stone and will allow the audience to interact with the story.

Late 2010s

In February 2016, Soderbergh ended his retirement from feature films to direct a NASCAR heist film, Logan Lucky, starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig among others. The film would be produced entirely by his own doing with no studio involved in anything other than theatrical distribution. In August 2016, he posted on Twitter that the first day of shooting the film has begun. It was released on August 18, 2017 by Bleecker Street

In July 2017, it was revealed that Soderbergh had secretly shot a film using iPhones (similar to what was done with Tangerine) titled Unsane and starring Claire Foy and Juno Temple. Soderbergh had plans of distributing it domestically himself.

Soderbergh edits of famous films

Soderbergh has released recut versions of several films by other directors on his Extension 765 website. It is unclear whether Soderbergh has obtained legal rights to post these edits.

On February 24, 2014, a mashup of Alfred Hitchcock's and Gus Van Sant's versions of Psycho appeared on the site. Retitled "Psychos" and featuring no explanatory text, the recut appears to be a fan edit of the two films by Soderbergh. Reaction to the mashup appears to reinforce the prejudice against the 1998 film. The opening credits intermingle names from both the 1960 and 1998 versions, and all color has been removed from Van Sant's scenes, except for when Bates' mother is found.

On April 21, 2014, Soderbergh released an alternate cut of Michael Cimino's controversial 1980 Western Heaven's Gate on his website. Credited to his pseudonym Mary Ann Bernard and dubbed "The Butcher's Cut", Soderbergh's version runs for 108 minutes.

On September 22, 2014, he uploaded a black-and-white silent version of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's score of The Social Network in aiding the study of just the visual staging aspects. The purpose of it is to study the aspects of staging in filmmaking.

On January 14, 2015, Soderbergh posted a recut version of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. At 110 minutes, Soderbergh's version is over half an hour shorter than the various official versions. Much of the cut material is from the first third of the film; in particular, most of Heywood Floyd's scenes are deleted. The edit has been removed on the request of Warner Bros. and the Stanley Kubrick Estate.

Unrealized projects

Soderbergh nearly filmed a feature adaptation of the baseball book Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Demetri Martin. The book, by Michael Lewis, tells of how Billy Beane, general manager of Oakland Athletics, used statistical analysis to make up for what he lacked in funds to beat the odds and lead his team to a series of notable wins in 2002. Disagreements between Sony and Soderbergh about revisions to Steven Zaillian's version of the screenplay led to Soderbergh's dismissal from the project only days prior to filming in June 2009. The move by Sony's Amy Pascal sent shockwaves through the industry. The film was eventually made by director Bennett Miller, with a script rewritten by Aaron Sorkin and Jonah Hill replacing Demetri Martin. It was critically acclaimed and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Soderbergh had planned to commence production in early 2012 on a feature version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., also written by Scott Z. Burns. George Clooney was set for the lead role of Napoleon Solo but had to drop out due to a recurring back injury suffered while filming Syriana. In November 2011 Soderbergh withdrew from the project due to budget and casting conflicts, and was eventually replaced by Guy Ritchie. The resulting film was released in 2015 to mixed reviews and disappointing box office returns.

Soderbergh worked for a time with writer Scott Z. Burns on a biopic of controversial Nazi-era film director Leni Riefenstahl, but he and Burns ended up abandoning that script as too uncommercial, making Contagion instead.

Directorial style and collaborations

Soderbergh frequently works with actors on more than one occasion. The following is a chart of notable collaborators:

"I've always gotten along with them," says Soderbergh of actors, "I try and make sure they're OK, and when they're in the zone, I leave them alone. I don't get in their way." His non-intrusive directorial style has attracted repeat performances by many high-profile movie stars. Julia Roberts had supporting roles in Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve and Full Frontal, and won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her lead in Erin Brockovich. Benicio del Toro, who also won an Academy Award for his work in a Soderbergh film (Traffic), later starred in Guerrilla and The Argentine. Catherine Zeta-Jones received a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Helena in Traffic (2000) and reteamed with him for box-office hit Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Side Effects (2013). But the actor he has collaborated most frequently with is George Clooney, who played the leading role in six of his films, and with whom he co-owned the film production company, Section Eight Productions. Section Eight produced the critical hits Far From Heaven, Insomnia and Syriana, as well as the Clooney-directed films Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night, and Good Luck.

Soderbergh often acts as his own director of photography under the alias of Peter Andrews and occasionally as his own editor under the alias of Mary Ann Bernard, his mother's maiden name. While shooting Traffic, Soderbergh wanted a credit of "Photographed and Directed by". The Writer's Guild (WGA) wouldn't allow another credit ahead of the writer. Because Soderbergh didn't want his name used more than once, he adopted a pseudonym, Peter Andrews, his father's first and middle names.

Soderbergh often utilizes Cliff Martinez or David Holmes to construct/compose the soundtracks to his movies, and when not cutting his own films, he relies on editor Stephen Mirrione.


Soderbergh has made big-budget Hollywood films as well as art-house independent films; works with above-the-title movie stars and unknowns; directs adaptations and original material, both of which written by himself as well as other screenwriters. His versatility is also apparent with the genres which he chooses to film and his trades as a filmmaker behind the scenes. Traffic screenwriter and Syriana director Stephen Gaghan named Soderbergh "the Michael Jordan of filmmaking" for his ability to assume so many distinct roles in film production.

While Soderbergh is enamoured of dialogue, Soderbergh's incorporation of score and montage are equally prevalent in his story-telling. Even Soderbergh's light-hearted affairs, such as Out of Sight and Ocean's Eleven, contain scenes where images and score are the dominant story-telling mechanisms. Films such as Solaris and Traffic are heavily layered in scenes absent of dialogue altogether. Cliff Martinez, a frequent collaborator with Soderbergh, composes many of the scores that provide Soderbergh with the thematic and sonic landscapes into which he inserts his characters.

But while Soderbergh's subject matter is highly varied, many of his films feature as a central theme the exploration of the act or moral consequences of lying. For example, the protagonists in two early films, King of the Hill and Sex, Lies, and Videotape, are both pathological liars (one in training, one in recovery), while most of the characters in all three Ocean's films are con artists. It is interesting to note that he directed Spalding Gray in Gray's Anatomy after King of the Hill, an actor who often commented that he was unable to "make anything up." Full Frontal is another film in this thread, where seemingly the fundamental dishonesty of the entire filmmaking process is exposed. More distantly, Soderbergh's interest in rhyming slang, as seen in The Limey and the Ocean's films, may be seen as part of this theme, based on the conjectured origin of rhyming slang as a language game.

In his review of Full Frontal, film critic Roger Ebert commented that, "Every once in a while, perhaps as an exercise in humility, Steven Soderbergh makes a truly inexplicable film... A film so amateurish that only the professionalism of some of the actors makes it watchable... It's the kind of film where you need the director telling you what he meant to do and what went wrong and how the actors screwed up and how there was no money for retakes, etc." About Soderbergh's film, The Good German and his emphasis on style over substance, film critic Richard Roeper commented that the film had to offer, "a lot of style. Not so much with the plot."

Soderbergh has, nonetheless, been dubbed a stylistic chameleon by Anne Thompson of Premiere. Drew Morton has extensively researched Soderbergh and has tied him to a modern movement much like the French New Wave.

Soderbergh also has a track record of honorable contributions in the cinematic arts; when the papers of writer and satirist Terry Southern were potentially in limbo following his untimely death in 1995, Soderbergh purchased and then donated the papers to the New York Public Library. Naqoyqatsi, the final chapter of Godfrey Reggio's Qatsi trilogy, was completed after a delay of more than 10 years, only after Soderbergh stepped in to provide the necessary funding.


Soderbergh claims to not be a fan of possessory credits, and prefers not to have his name front and center at the start of a film. "The fact that I'm not an identifiable brand is very freeing," says Soderbergh, "because people get tired of brands and they switch brands. I've never had a desire to be out in front of anything, which is why I don't take a possessory credit."

On Monday, April 5, 2009, Soderbergh appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, and "cited the French initiative in asking lawmakers to deputize the American film industry to pursue copyright pirates," indicating he supports anti-piracy laws and Internet regulation.

Personal life

Soderbergh is married to television personality Jules Asner, whom he often credits for influencing his female characters. Soderbergh claims he no longer reads reviews of his movies. "After Traffic I just stopped completely," says the director. "After winning the LA and New York film critics awards, I really felt like, this can only get worse". Steven has a daughter with his first wife, actress Betsy Brantley.

Soderbergh lives in New York City.

On his own films

  • Sex, Lies, and Videotape, with filmmaker Neil LaBute
  • Schizopolis
  • Out of Sight, with screenwriter Scott Frank
  • The Limey, with screenwriter Lem Dobbs
  • Traffic, with screenwriter Stephen Gaghan
  • Ocean's Eleven, with screenwriter Ted Griffin
  • Full Frontal, with screenwriter Coleman Hough
  • Solaris, with producer James Cameron
  • Ocean's Twelve, with screenwriter George Nolfi (Blu-ray only)
  • Bubble, with filmmaker Mark Romanek
  • Ocean's Thirteen, with screenwriters Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Blu-ray only)
  • The Girlfriend Experience, with actress Sasha Grey
  • The Informant!, with screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (Blu-ray only)
  • On other films

  • Apartment Zero, with screenwriter/producer David Koepp
  • Billy Budd, with actor Terence Stamp
  • Catch-22, with director Mike Nichols
  • Clean, Shaven, with director Lodge Kerrigan
  • The Graduate, with director Mike Nichols
  • Point Blank, with director John Boorman
  • Seabiscuit, with director Gary Ross
  • Suture, with directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel
  • The Third Man, with screenwriter Tony Gilroy
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with director Mike Nichols
  • The Yards, with director James Gray
  • References

    Steven Soderbergh Wikipedia