He may not be retiring after all, rather, he might just be reconsidering the specific medium in which he works, switching from feature filmmaking for the big screen, to producing content for cable TV, where he seemingly might be able to take more risks with the work he creates.
It was announced a couple of months ago that Steven Soderbergh's next project, after HBO's Behind The Candelabra, would see him team with Clive Owen on a TV series for Cinemax.
Titled The Knick, the period series will be set in New York in 1900, in the Knickerbocker Hospital, and will follow the hospital's groundbreaking staff, who are intent on pushing the boundaries of medicine.
Earlier today, I received an official synopsis of the series, which indicates that there'll be a few roles for black actors, including one seemingly prominent one.
First, here's the official synopsis:
It's 1900, when amazing technological advances are opening up the field of medicine to new life-saving procedures that would have been unimaginable a mere decade ago. The Knickerbocker Hospital is an antiquated institution being dragged, sometimes painfully, into the 20th Century under the visionary tutelage of head surgeon, JOHN W. THACKERAY, a famously iconoclastic physician with a secret cocaine habit. Thackeray presides over an organization in the grip of foment and change, from the high-minded principles of CORNELIA ROBERTSON, a shipping heiress bent on social reform, to the low scheming of such men as HERMAN BARROW, a hospital administrator more interested in graft than healing. When Cornelia pressures Thackeray into accepting African American surgeon, ALGERNON EDWARDS, as his new assistant chief of surgery, the newly integrated hospital faces a whole new raft of challenges from its patients, many of whom would rather die than accept treatment from a man of color. For the brilliantly innovative Thackeray, it's just another distraction from his single-minded purpose -- to initiate radical new procedures that will ultimately change lives, whether his patients hail from the highest corridors of power or the lowest tenements in New York...
So, clearly, Algernon Edwards looks like it'll be a prominent role for the black actor who'll be cast in it. I'd guess it'll be a *name* actor - at least of Clive Owens' caliber. It appears that role has already been cast, although I can't say who the actor is.
I also learned that there are at least 4 other roles for black actors that are being cast currently, all listed as either recurring roles or possible recurring roles.
Assuming the series does end up at Cinemax, it''ll be a 10-episode season commitment, with Soderbergh directing all of the episodes!
Jack Amiel & Michael Begler are both writers and executive producers on the series.