He’s only 48 years old, but Steven Soderbergh says he plans to retire after wrapping his next two films—Liberace, starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., starring George Clooney. Soderbergh burst onto the scene 22 years ago with his debut feature, Sex, Lies and Videotape, which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes and triggered a new wave in indie cinema. Since then he has proved to be one of America’s most versatile directors, swinging from Hollywood hits like Oceans 11 and the Oscar-winning Erin Brockovich to daring experiments like Solaris and The Good German. Soderbergh, who worships French auteur Jean-Luc Godard, has never seemed satisfied with commercial success. And lately he’s shown more verve with a low-budget outings like The Girfriend Experience and his recent documentary on Spalding Grey than with big-budget features. The director is incredibly prolific. With two star-driven studio pictures on his plate, and another two movies in the can (Contagion, Haywire), perhaps he’s just suffering temporary burn-out. Or longing to flee to the fringes of the avant garde. But even if he makes good on his promise to stop directing movies, he’s highly active in producing them—and he hasn’t said he’ll stop doing that. Or, he could always follow Gwyneth Paltrow’s lead, and try to become a pop star.
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