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|Also Known As:||Steven Andrew Soderbergh, Peter Andrews, Mary Ann Bernard, Sam Lowry, Peter Andrews||Died:|
|Born:||January 14, 1963||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Atlanta, Georgia, USA||Profession:||director, director of photography, screenwriter, producer, actor, editor, game show scorer, cue card holder, video arcade token changer|
Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
f the revolutionary. Turning heads once again, Soderbergh cast real-life porn star Sasha Grey for his next film, "The Girlfriend Experience" (2009), another low-budget, improvisatory exercise in independent filmmaking. Back to commercial directing once again, he helmed "The Informant!" (2009), a darkly comic thriller based on a true story about a corporate whistleblower (Matt Damon) who helps the FBI uncover a price-fixing scheme at Archer Daniels Midland, only to get caught defrauding the very company he was informing on while also displaying bizarre behavior brought on by his bipolar disorder.Following some low-key productions, notably the Spalding Gray documentary "And Everything Is Going Fine" (2010), Soderbergh returned to a flurry of productivity, offering up the unsettling 2011 ensemble thriller "Contagion," featuring Damon, Kate Winlset, Jude Law and many other notable actors. The hard-hitting action film "Haywire" followed in early 2012, with real-life MMA star Gina Carano convincingly playing a tough secret agent who clashes with her former associates, portrayed by Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor, among others. Soderbergh worked with Tatum again in his next two films,...
f the revolutionary. Turning heads once again, Soderbergh cast real-life porn star Sasha Grey for his next film, "The Girlfriend Experience" (2009), another low-budget, improvisatory exercise in independent filmmaking. Back to commercial directing once again, he helmed "The Informant!" (2009), a darkly comic thriller based on a true story about a corporate whistleblower (Matt Damon) who helps the FBI uncover a price-fixing scheme at Archer Daniels Midland, only to get caught defrauding the very company he was informing on while also displaying bizarre behavior brought on by his bipolar disorder.
Following some low-key productions, notably the Spalding Gray documentary "And Everything Is Going Fine" (2010), Soderbergh returned to a flurry of productivity, offering up the unsettling 2011 ensemble thriller "Contagion," featuring Damon, Kate Winlset, Jude Law and many other notable actors. The hard-hitting action film "Haywire" followed in early 2012, with real-life MMA star Gina Carano convincingly playing a tough secret agent who clashes with her former associates, portrayed by Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor, among others. Soderbergh worked with Tatum again in his next two films, the well-received male-stripper drama "Magic Mike" (2012) and the Hitchcockian thriller "Side Effects," co-starring Law and Rooney Mara. Threatening to retire from cinema after his long-in-the-works Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra" (2013), Soderbergh finally brought the project to the small screen on HBO, with Michael Douglas playing the garish and talented showman and Damon portraying his lover. In the fall of 2013, Soderbergh won his first Emmy for directing the production, with Douglas also nabbing an award for his impressive lead performance.ss white users (Erika Christensen and Topher Grace). A critical triumph, as well as a box-office success, "Traffic" was part of the one-two combination alongside "Erin Brockovich" that brought Soderbergh numerous end-of-the-year prizes on his way to becoming the first director since Michael Curtiz in 1939 (for 1938's "Angels with Dirty Faces" and "Four Daughters") to receive dual Academy Award nominations for Best Director. He eventually took home the Oscar for his work on "Traffic," capping a year where he finally achieved mainstream success.
Adding to his commercial resume, Soderbergh directed the all-star remake of "Ocean's Eleven" (2001), featuring a new so-called Rat Pack that included George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. A fun, stylish romp, the new "Ocean's" focused on a newly paroled thief (Clooney) who handpicks an 11-man team to rip-off over $150 million from three Las Vegas casinos owned by a classy, but ruthless entrepreneur (Andy Garcia). "Ocean's Eleven" was another bona fide hit for Soderbergh, cementing the director's credentials as a highly viable and successful commercial filmmaker. But in 2002, Soderbergh took a different approach to his craft and directed the non-narrative "Full Frontal," starring Julia Roberts, David Duchovny and Catherine Keener. Shot in 18 days, the film featured guerilla-style camera work and improvisation from the actors. Despite the all-star pedigree, the no-budget project failed to congeal creatively and earned the director some well-deserved criticism. The critical drubbing continued when he attempted to remake the sci-fi cult classic, "Solaris" (2003), a slow-moving and ultimately dull sci-fi thriller starring Clooney as a psychologist who travels to a faraway space station to investigate the strange behavior of a small group of scientists on a mysterious planet.
Going back to the well, Soderbergh reunited the original cast and once again breathed vibrancy into "Ocean's Twelve" (2004), an upbeat and visually interesting sequel that ultimately suffered from a pointless plot that needed 10 minutes of exposition at the end to explain. Despite the obvious fun being had by Clooney, Roberts, Pitt both during filming and onscreen, viewers were not amused. The lackluster exercise failed to win many admirers who were tiring of the endless practical jokes, boating parties on Lake Cuomo and insular brotherhood that preceded the filming of each project and continued throughout its promotions - like the impossibly gorgeous actors were in on a joke only they understood, leaving the public out. Despite the lackluster response to the second "Ocean's" film, Soderbergh formed the production company Section Eight with Clooney and entered the television world with the Washington insider drama, "K Street" (HBO, 2003). The series starred real-life political gurus and spouses James Carville and Mary Matalin, who appeared as themselves but were surrounded by fictional characters as they embarked on running their own fictional consulting firm. Interspersing real politicians in documentary-style, the interesting experiment ultimately failed to attract much attention outsight the Beltway, thanks in large part because of its shaky narrative style - part scripted entertainment; part improvisation with real-life Washington politicos - that lead to awkward moments onscreen. There was genuine comedy and pathos at the heart of Soderbergh's follow-up, the improvised "Unscripted" (HBO, 2004-05), which followed the ups and downs of a trio of struggling actors working their way through Hollywood with the tough-love guidance of their acting coach.
Always game for a good filmmaking experiment - if only to cleanse commercialization from his pores - Soderbergh made his next film, "Bubble" (2006), an unlikely love triangle between three factory workers that eventually leads to murder. Starring a series of non-actors from the small Ohio town of Belpre where the film was shot, the experiment was made on a small, six-figure budget and a crew of less than ten. "Bubble" was also unusual for its theatrical release, which was followed the next day by a cable broadcast and DVD release two subsequent days later. With "The Good German" (2006), Soderbergh summoned the film noir style from Hollywood days of yore, collaborating once again with Clooney, who starred as a U.S. war correspondent covering the Potsdam Peace Conference in Berlin following the defeat of Hitler's Third Reich. After witnessing the murder of an American G.I. on the Russian side of the city, the reporter suddenly finds himself alone in finding the truth while confronting his pre-Berlin past in the form of his old lover (Cate Blachett), who has been irrevocably damaged by the war. "The Good German" demonstrated Soderbergh's love of American noir and the German expressionism from which it was inspired. But his zealous attention to style and period detail sapped creative energy from elements where it was needed most - mainly story and character development - leading to poor reviews and practically zero audience interest.
Soderbergh decided to go back to the commercial well once again, directing the third and possibly last installment, "Ocean's 13" (2007), a much more intriguing and well-received addition to the series than its immediate predecessor. Again starring Clooney, Pitt, Don Cheadle, and the other neo-Rat Packers, the spunky thriller was elevated by the addition of Al Pacino, who played a ruthless casino owner who becomes the target of Danny Ocean's crew after betraying beloved member, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). The return to the fun-loving, intricately-plotted roots of the first film was welcomed by both critics and audiences alike. Keeping his fans and critics off balance once again, Soderbergh directed "Che" (2008), an almost five-hour long biography about the life and times of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara (Benicio del Toro). Long, sprawling and complicated, "Che" was broken up into two parts, while earning mixed reviews after its debut at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. The film also earned its share of criticism, particularly after a screening in Miami, for being too favorable in its depiction o
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CAST: (feature film)
Milestones close milestones
Soderbergh became only the second person in the history of the Directors Guild of America Awards to be nominated for more than one film in the same year when he was tapped for a pair of 2000 releases, "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic". The first man so honored was Francis Ford Coppola in 1974 when he was nominated for "The Conversation" and "The Godfather, Part II" (for which he won the prize).
On the similarities between Soderbergh and the lead character of Graham in "sex, lies and videotape", actor James Spader told writer Terri Minski: "We never talked about it. But there would be days when I'd get out of wardrobe and come to the set, and we'd be wearing the same thing." --From Rolling Stone, May 18, 1989.
"There's a certain way I like to work. It goes -- this is the script, this is the budget, this is the schedule. Assuming these things stay as they are, I want to be left alone." --Steven Soderbergh quoted in "The Road Less Traveled" by David Gritten in the Los Angeles Times Calendar, November 25, 1990.
When asked what it was like directing and acting opposite his ex-wife in "Schizopolis": "I highly recommend it. I think everybody must have thought I was insane while we were making the movie. But, when you think, 'It's just life. Why shy away from it?' In terms of of my work, I'm always looking for the stupid thing to do, the thing that makes you think, 'Why would anyone put themselves through that?' It was very therapeutic. It really was like standing on the bow of a ship in a bad storm. It required an enormous amount of equilibrium." --Steven Soderbergh to the Village Voice, April 1, 1997.
"People assume they know what it means for a director to be true to himself, which they don't. America has no shortage of auteurs. What we have is a shortage of films being made by smart filmmakers that open in 4,000 theaters. I don't understand why a filmmaker should be penalized for working in the mainstream. Why not give the big money to the most interesting filmmakers instead of putting them in quarantine, where, in order for them to do something interesting, they have to do it for a million bucks?" --Soderbergh quoted in The New York Times, June 21, 1998.
In your book, "Getting Away With It," you have some pretty tough words for movie critics, calling them "parasitic," questioning their legitimacy and so on. Have the recent awards from the New York Film Critics Circle changed those opinions?
No. I think what I was referring to at that point was whether or not, in the current structure of how movies are made and sold, they have the kind of role that they used to have. There was a time when I think critics had a more significant and integral role in what was happening with movies. But the business has changed so much that you could argue that's not true anymore. When you can find somebody somewhere to call every film a masterpiece, then it's gotten out of hand.
Also, the number of serious critics who are allowed and/or encouraged to write at length and seriously about movies is diminished, which is sad. I didn't always agree with Pauline Kael, but I sure loved reading her stuff because she was incredibly bright and knew a lot about a lot of things, not just movies. There aren't many like that anymore.
Yet, by strict definition, critics are parasitic in the sense that they can't exist without the artist. The artist has to create something that is then commented on. It's great when a group of critics gets together and gives you an award like that. But the bottom line is, it doesn't make me any better at my job, which is all I think about when I get up in the morning. You have to give such awards their proper weight. --From Stephen Lemons' interview with Soderbergh on Salon.com (December 20, 2000)
"I try to strike a balance between design and life." --Steven Soderbergh explaining his directorial style to Aleksandrs Rozens of Reuters, December 28, 2000.
On his direction of actors, Soderbergh told Stephen Rebello of Movieline (December 2000/January 2001): "What I always want to do is find the best version of them. It's not that I want to glamorize them, it's just that I'm pretty good at minimizing whatever weaknesses they have. My gut instinct about that is pretty good, from how to pitch a performance tonally to how to frame, light and cut them. That's my job.
. . . A lot of directors don't like actors. They don't want to talk to them, don't know how to talk to them. Some directors who work that way make good films. But I'm very impressed by what actors do. You cannot describe the kind of exposure that standing in front of a camera with a crew around means. Ther's no control and the rejection is very personal. I'm very sympathetic toward actors because I have a sense of what that's like. Naked doesn't begin to describe it. I have enormous respect for people who want to do it, and for people who do it well. It's a career I wouldn't wish on a lot of people -- the worst."
Asked by Anthony Kaufman of Indiwire.com (January 3, 2001) about serving as his own director of photography on "Traffic", Soderbergh replied: "It is [relentless]. But it's so satisfying. Because you're getting what you want all day. I certainly underestimated the restorative value of being able to leave the set for 5 minutes, which you cannot do when you are your own cinematographer. Literally. I couldn't go to the bathroom until lunchtime. Because I had to sit there and make sure things we're going. Or we were shooting. Most of our day was spent shooting. The lion's share of the film is shot with available light, so we showed up early, ready to shoot. But in this case, it felt so organic that it didn't really feel like I was doing another job. It felt very much like when I was making my short films. It was a very stripped down crew. It was really just: Let's show up and shoot."
"I'm no longer a control freak. The implementation of whatever aesthetic I choose for each film is as considered and systematic as it used to be, but I have a completely different way of doing it now. I used to be a perfectionist but it was the wrong kind of perfection. And I no longer think perfection is interesting-by definition it's not lifelike. On the set, it's really about refining your sense of what's important within a scene, and within the context of the film. You train yourself to start gravitating toward it, like a metal detector, and you let the other stuff roll down your back." --Soderbergh to Dennis Lim in "Both Sides Now", from Village Voice, January 3-9, 2001.
On his approach to casting actors, Soderbergh told Ben Thompson of London's The Daily Telegraph (January 6, 2001): "I think most of them want to find that area in which they can have a little bit of wiggle room - somewhere they can be interesting movie stars - but a lot of them don't get the opportunity. Maybe they're not encouraged by their handlers or their studios, and then a little bit of pressure builds up and you end up with someone making a horrifically wrong-headed choice."
"I don't think I've ever felt on the inside. It may have looked that way - and in some ways my awareness that it looks that way just makes the sensation even stranger - but to me it's always felt like everyone else is having all the fun." --Steven Soderbergh quoted in "The Director Who Came in From the Cold" by Ben Thompson in The Daily Telegraph, January 6, 2001.
"Traffic" links back to the political cinema of the Sixties and Seventies. In its combination of radical form and content, it is reminiscent of "Medium Cool" and, most of all, "The Battle of Algiers". Like Pontecorvo's revolutionary classic, "Traffic" has both a broad scope and a sharp immediacy. With other filmmakers, these comparisons would be speculative, but Soderbergh is the biggest film buff among current American directors, a man who actually described "The Limey" as 'Alain Resnais directing "Get Carter"'. --From "What a Lucky Soderbergh" by Mark Morris in The Observer, January 7, 2001.
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