Steven Soderbergh Reiterates Retirement Plans: Wants “A Smallish Farewell Parade”

Mike Fleming

While I have been on record expressing the sentiment that there are many filmmakers who should retire before Steven Soderbergh, I just got off the phone with the filmmaker. And damn it, he still wants to punch out by the time he hits 50. “I’m still following my plan,” he told me. “I’ve been stupid about it, I should have kept my mouth shut, but at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything that unusual about it. By the time I finish with the series of projects I’m planning, it will be 26 or 27 films. That’s plenty and if you take volume over quality; I’m twice as good as Kubrick.”

Forecasting his exit also didn’t help in terms of preparing the industry to make a fuss over him. “I figured by giving them two years lead time, they would line up those lifetime achievement awards, but there have been no calls or anything,” Soderbergh joked. Asked what he would like, he said, tongue firmly in cheek, “The Oprah thing. A year-long daily celebration of my fabulousness would be nice. Or maybe just a smallish parade.”

Soderbergh and I were speaking about Relativity Media’s decision to release Haywire, which it financed but set distribution originally through Lionsgate. Though that picture was shot before Contagion – the thriller about the outbreak of a deadly virus that stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law – Haywire will be released Jan. 20, 2012, three months after Contagion. Soderbergh will talk the picture up while promoting Contagion, which he feels will help an action film that leans heavily on Gina Carano, known only to mixed martial arts fans who’ve seen her fight on the circuit. Soderbergh also liked the Relativity move because it reunites him with Relativity’s new marketing chief Terry Curtin, with whom Soderbergh worked at Universal on Erin Brockovich.

“I think it might be best for Haywire to follow Contagion, which is the kind of film people like to see me make,” Soderbergh said. “It’s in the vein of Traffic, an entertaining multi-layered story about something timely right now. Because Gina has never been in a movie before, being able to draft off Contagion will be very good. We knew she could do the right stuff, but she really delivers as a screen presence. She looks comfortable, and then she tears these guys in half.”

Soderbergh said he’ll start work in September on Magic Mike, the film that will star Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer as male strippers in a coming-of-age story reminiscent of Saturday Night Fever. He’ll follow by directing George Clooney in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in February. After that, Liberace with Michael Douglas and Damon will likely be Soderbergh’s swan song. While I reminded him that he’s walking away at a time when he has plenty to say and the wisdom to know how to solve problems that maturity brings, he disagreed. Read More »

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James Gray’s ‘Low Life’ Script Draws Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 5:47pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: We Own The Night writer/director James Gray is fast mobilizing his next film. It’s called Low Life, and it will star Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix, with Jeremy Renner in discussions to play the third lead. The project is being packaged by CAA. Several financiers are in the mix, but I hear that Wild Bunch will likely get it. Discussions are also taking place with domestic distributors, and deal is expected to be sealed shortly. The Hurt Locker‘s Greg Shapiro is producing.

I’m told that Cotillard will play a woman attempting to immigrate from Poland. Her American dream turns into a nightmare. While sailing to Ellis Island and a new start, her sister grows deathly ill and she is forced to trade sexual favors for medicine and food to keep her sister alive. Once they land, she is warned to keep quiet about what happened. Though she does, she walks away with immigration papers that deem her a woman with bad morals. With no place to go, she falls prey to a charming sleazebag (Phoenix), who persuades her to turn tricks in New York. Renner is close to signing on to play the sleazebag’s cousin, a magician who sweeps the young woman off her feet and is her best chance to escape the nightmarish life she has fallen into. This will be Gray’s fourth film with Phoenix, who previously starred in The Yards, We Own The Night and most recently Two Lovers. Read More »

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Warner Bros, Legendary Start Shooting ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ Final Chapter Of Christopher Nolan’s Trilogy

Mike Fleming

BURBANK, CA, May 19, 2011 – Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises,” the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake. Returning to the main cast, Oscar® winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

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In Other Deals: French Paper Taps Marion Cotillard For Batflick; Javier Bardem Wins Goya; Broadway Spider-Man Gets SNL Parody, More Bad Press

Mike Fleming

French newspaper Le Figaro reported Marion Cotillard is set for Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. We’ll get some clarity today, but the move makes sense given that most everyone in that cast but Anne Hathaway (Catwoman) worked with Nolan … Read More »

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Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight In Paris’ To Open Cannes Fest

Mike Fleming

Midnight in Paris, the new film by Woody Allen will open the Festival de Cannes on May 11th in the Lumière theatre, in the presence of the Jury presided by Robert De Niro.

The romcom, which was shot last year in the French capital, brings together a broad international

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Uni Re-Teams With ‘Heartbreaker’ Talent

By | Wednesday September 22, 2010 @ 3:03am PDT

Romain Duris and Pascal Chaumeil, star and director of this year’s hit French comedy Heartbreaker, are going into business again with Universal Pictures International. London-based UPI has boarded Chaumeil’s next comedy Vivre c’est mieux que mourir (Living Is Better Than Dying), which will also star Marion Cotillard. The film goes into production summer 2011. UPI has also announced that it is co-financing two other French projects. Audrey Tatou will co-star in Jalil Lespert’s drama/mystery Des Vents Contraires. Tu Seras Mon Fils, directed by Gilles Legrand, has already gone into production. Read More »

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‘Lumières, Caméra, Action… Merde’

This morning’s Daily Mail carries an amusing story about Carla Bruni, First Lady of France, flubbing her cameo in Woody Allen’s latest 35 times. Bruni, a top model before she married President Sarkozy, committed that most basic acting … Read More »

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