This spring, director Steven Soderbergh went on Kurt Anderson’s Studio 360 NPR show and suggested that after he fulfills his future directing obligations – a Man from U.N.C.L.E. feature, a Channing Tatum male stripper movie and a Liberace biopic with Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, he’s going to call it a wrap. Although he’s now hemming and hawing a little bit about his professed exit from moviedom, Soderbergh – who directed the disease disaster pic Contagion, opening Friday -- has sounded fatigued and frazzled in recent interviews.
Last week, Jude Law, one of the stars of Contagion (he’s a maverick blogger posting paranoid conspiracy theories as the world population goes into a pandemic panic), mused about Soderbergh's quit-the-business talk.
“In my view, he’s a real pioneer," Law says. "It’s always interesting to watch his films, whatever the genre, and see how he’s telling stories, because he’s not frightened of pushing the demands of an audience, and I think that’s a really exciting place to be as an artist. And with this piece in particular, with Contagion, I really feel he’s testing our mettle.”
As for the retirement talk, Law says “Steven didn’t seem frustrated in any way when we were working together. He’s a phenomenal creative energy to be around. He’s managed to, I think, whittle down what can sometimes be a rather excessive art form, filmmaking, to a streamlined thing … which is really creatively beneficial to everyone involved.
“He certainly wasn’t lackluster or reluctant…. But, objectively, I can understand why people want to sometimes take a step off the path that they are on and try something else. Especially when you are as intelligent and as creative as Steven is.”