Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time

Steven Soderbergh Says "Writing Is The Worst Job In The World," Explains His Transition From Writer To Cinematographer

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist March 1, 2013 at 9:17AM

If you haven't assumed the notion by now, Steven Soderbergh is pretty much the ideal interview subject (check out our recent conversation with him here). Witty, relatable, and willing to divulge extensive behind-the-scenes details, the director has faced his indefinite hiatus with reflections galore, the latest of which concerns his turn away from screenwriting, and more toward the cinematographer role he's so frequently explored.
4
Steven Soderbergh Television

If you haven't assumed the notion by now, Steven Soderbergh is pretty much the ideal interview subject (check out our recent conversation with him here). Witty, relatable, and willing to divulge extensive behind-the-scenes details, the director has faced his indefinite hiatus with reflections galore, the latest of which concerns his turn away from screenwriting, and more toward the cinematographer role he's so frequently explored.

Starting with his Sundance breakout hit, “sex lies and videotape,” Soderbergh supplied the scripts for his and other directors' films throughout the '90s, including “King of the Hill,” “Schizopolis” and Gregory Jacob's “Criminal” (under the pseudonym Peter Lowry). However, he stopped after 2002's “Solaris” to start on his trail of collaborations with other writers, and speaking with Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at MUBI, he claims there's a simple answer as to why -- namely, that “writing is the worst job in the world.”

"I was sort of writing by default," Soderbergh admitted. "Then I started working with real writers and I began to realize that I didn't enjoy writing, but I really enjoyed working with writers. I feel like as soon as I started doing that, the work improved drastically."

Soderbergh says his collaborations opened up new doors creatively and allowed him to simply enjoy his work a lot more. “It took a certain amount of very disappointed thought to realize: 'You know what? I think I'm gonna have a better career and make better movies if I work with writers.' I really believe that, and it's obviously turned out to be true," he candidly said. "For me, who never really enjoyed writing and just wrote because I didn't really know anybody and needed to generate material, the ability to sit with people like Scott [Z. Burns] or Richard LaGravenese or Lem Dobbs is so fun and so much more gratifying and the results have been so much better that I've never looked back.

Cinematography has instead surpassed screenwriting in terms of passion, as Soderbergh used the name Peter Andrews to shoot his own films. But why the shift? “I'd always been a gearhead. I knew how to work a dark room,” he said. “I'd shot short films. It was something that I felt very comfortable with, and as a result, I was probably something of a pain in the ass for the people who shot for me -- although they were extremely generous with their time and their experience.” 

As a result, and all the way up Soderbergh's latest and last (?) theatrical feature, “Side Effects,” his DP work remains distinct, recognizable and rarely settling for conventionality. “I'm not Emmanuel Lubezki, but I'm quick and I'm cheap,” he says of his work, and with “Beyond the Candleabra” all that's left for now, we may be wishing he took his time a little more.

This article is related to: Steven Soderbergh


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates