skip navigation
Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Che: The Criterion Collection... Far from a conventional biopic, Steven Soderberghs film about Che Guevara is a... more info $33.99was $49.95 Buy Now

Erin Brockovich DVD Julia Roberts gives a stellar performance as single mom Erin Brockovich. So... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

The Limey DVD Steven Soderbergh's "The Limey" (1999), an atmospheric film noir, will knock... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Notting Hill / Erin Brockovich (Double... America's sweetheart Julia Roberts wins over the Brits as well in this must-have... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

Out Of Sight DVD It's the film that turned George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez into genuine film... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

Out Of Sight / Intolerable Cruelty (Double... A double dose of George Clooney! First he pairs up with Jennifer Lopez in "Out... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: Steven Andrew Soderbergh, Peter Andrews, Mary Ann Bernard, 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

Despite being anointed a wunderkind after winning the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his debut film, "sex, lies and videotape" (1989), director Steven Soderbergh spent the better part of the ensuing decade struggling to find his creative and commercial footing. After following up his Cannes triumph with the baffling "Kafka" (1991), Soderbergh all but disappeared from Hollywood's radar, thanks to commercial failures like "King of the Hill" (1993) and "The Underneath" (1995). He cleansed his palate with the truly bizarre "Schizopolis" (1997), which helped pave the way for a revitalized career with "Out of Sight" (1998), a stylish adaptation of Elmore Leonard's romantic crime thriller that finally put Soderbergh on the map. The director soon entered into a fertile period that saw him make creatively satisfying films that also made money; most notably "Erin Brockovich" (2000) and "Traffic" (2000), the latter of which earned him an Oscar for Best Director. After directing the highly-commercial "Ocean's Eleven" (2001), Soderbergh again felt the need to cleanse his soul with "Full Frontal" (2002) and "Solaris" (2002), both of which earned him considerable scorn. Always willing to experiment, as...

Despite being anointed a wunderkind after winning the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his debut film, "sex, lies and videotape" (1989), director Steven Soderbergh spent the better part of the ensuing decade struggling to find his creative and commercial footing. After following up his Cannes triumph with the baffling "Kafka" (1991), Soderbergh all but disappeared from Hollywood's radar, thanks to commercial failures like "King of the Hill" (1993) and "The Underneath" (1995). He cleansed his palate with the truly bizarre "Schizopolis" (1997), which helped pave the way for a revitalized career with "Out of Sight" (1998), a stylish adaptation of Elmore Leonard's romantic crime thriller that finally put Soderbergh on the map. The director soon entered into a fertile period that saw him make creatively satisfying films that also made money; most notably "Erin Brockovich" (2000) and "Traffic" (2000), the latter of which earned him an Oscar for Best Director. After directing the highly-commercial "Ocean's Eleven" (2001), Soderbergh again felt the need to cleanse his soul with "Full Frontal" (2002) and "Solaris" (2002), both of which earned him considerable scorn. Always willing to experiment, as he did with the low-budget "Bubble" (2006) and the sprawling four-hour epic "Che" (2008), Soderbergh was able to keep alive his independent spirit while his feet remained firmly planted in the commercial world, even at the risk of earning detractors and disappointing fans - the mark of a truly independent filmmaker.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
3.
  Haywire (2012)
4.
  Magic Mike (2012)
5.
  Contagion (2011)
7.
9.
10.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Side by Side (2012)
2.
 His Way (2011)
3.
 Waking Life (2001)
4.
 Independent's Day (1997) Himself
5.
 Schizopolis (1996) Fletcher Munson
6.
 Intimate Portrait: Erin Brockovich (2003) Interviewee
7.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began making short 16 mm films as a teen after enrolling in a university's film animation class
1978:
At age 15, made first short film "Janitor"
:
First completed project, an Ex-Lax commercial
1980:
Moved to Los Angeles, CA after graduating high school
1980:
Worked as an editor for sports variety show "Games People Play"; series canceled after six months
:
Returned to Baton Rouge and continued making Super-8 shorts including "Rapid Eye Movement"
:
Began directing music videos for local bands in Louisiana
1985:
Big break came when he directed Grammy-nominated concert video "9012Live" for the rock band Yes
1987:
Made film short "Winston" about sexual deception that preceded "sex, lies and videotape"
1989:
Feature directing debut, "sex, lies and videotape"; also wrote and edited; earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay
1991:
Directed second feature, poorly received biopic "Kafka" with Jeremy Irons as Franz Kafka
1993:
Made TV directorial debut with "The Quiet Room," an episode of Showtime anthology series "Fallen Angels"
1993:
Directed and wrote "King of the Hill," based on Depression-era memoir of writer A.E. Hotchner
1995:
Remade Robert Siodmark's 1949 film noir "Criss Cross" as "The Underneath"
1996:
Returned to Baton Rouge to shoot "Schizopolis," starring himself opposite his ex-wife Betsy Brantley
1997:
Directed Spalding Gray monologue film "Gray's Anatomy"; re-teamed with Gray who had acted in "King of the Hill"
1998:
Helmed "Out of Sight," an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel co-starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez
1999:
Directed "The Limey," starring Terrence Stamp; incorporated flashback scenes of Stamp from "Poor Cow" (1967), which was directed by Ken Loach
2000:
Formed Section Eight Productions with George Clooney
2000:
Directed Julia Roberts in her Academy Award winning role as a single mother who fights to bring a class action lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric Company in "Erin Brockovich"
2000:
Helmed award-winning drama "Traffic," an adaptation of the British series "Traffik"; also served as director of photography (credited as Peter Andrews)
2001:
Directed all-star cast remake of 1960s film "Ocean's Eleven"; re-teamed with Clooney and Roberts
2002:
Helmed ensemble drama "Full Frontal"
2002:
Collaborated with George Clooney for sci-fi drama "Solaris"
2003:
Teamed with George Clooney to executive produce political drama "K Street" (HBO)
2004:
Produced and penned screenplay for "Criminal," an English-language version of Argentine hit "Nine Queens" (2000)
2004:
Returned to direct "Ocean's Twelve," reuniting all members of original cast
2005:
Executive produced "Good Night, and Good Luck," directed by Clooney
2006:
Directed indie film "Bubble," which was first of six films shot in high-definition and released simultaneously on DVD, cable TV, and in theaters; earned Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Director
2006:
Re-teamed with George Clooney for "The Good German"
2007:
Re-teamed with original all-star cast to direct "Ocean's 13"
2008:
Directed and produced two-part biopic "Che" with Benicio Del Toro in title role; also credited as director of photography (as Peter Andrews)
2009:
Helmed "The Informant," a feature adaptation of 2000 non-fiction book about ADM executive turned whistleblower Mark Whitacre
2011:
Directed thriller "Contagion" about the threat posed by an outbreak of a deadly disease
2011:
Helmed action thriller "Haywire," starring Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and former MMA athlete Gina Carano; also credited cinematographer (as Peter Andrews); first film with Channing Tatum
2012:
Directed male stripper comedy-drama "Magic Mike," starring Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey
2013:
Again directed Tatum in "Side Effects," co-starring Rooney Mara and Jude Law
2013:
Directed the HBO TV movie "Behind the Candelabra," starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Louisiana State University: Baton Rouge , Louisiana -
Louisiana State University Laboratory School: Baton Rouge , Louisiana - 1980

Notes

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.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Betsy Brantley. Actor. Met while he was doing preliminary casting for "The Last Ship"; has acted in such films as "Another Country" (1984), "The Princess Bride" (1987) and "Havana" (1990); sister of journalist-screenwriter Duncan Brantley; divorced.
companion:
Laura Bickford. Producer. Dated; no longer together; produced "Traffic" (2000); was Soderbergh's date to the 2001 Academy Awards.
companion:
Jules Asner. TV reporter. Dating as of summer 2001; married on May 10, 2003.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Peter Soderbergh. Professor. Dean of the College of Education at Louisiana State University; divorced from Soderbergh's mother c. 1979; died on February 17, 1998 at age 69.
daughter:
Sarah Soderbergh. Born in February 1990; mother, Betsy Brantley.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Getting Away With It: Or, The Further Adventures of the Luckiest Bastard You Ever Saw" Faber and Faber

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute