The "Moneyball" fiasco was one of the uglier movie dramas of the year. To recap: Steven Soderbergh was supposed to direct the baseball statistic drama, but Sony's Amy Pascal pulled the plug a mere three days before shooting because of budget and script issues. Evidently the studio didn't care for Soderbergh's rewrite, but whatever the case was, the prolific director was thrown under the bus and became the fall guy.
When you get such a raw deal and become a scapegoat, it's probably best to stay quiet and let the media maelstrom pass and get over itself and Soderbergh basically did just that. He spoke to the U.K. press about "Che" and hinted at an early retirement, which got headlines spinning into overtime, but many failed to notice that Soderbergh talked retirement way before "Moneyball" had spun into a knuckleball tailspin.
But he's finally come out and addressed the "Moneyball" imbroglio in no uncertain terms — apparently that alleged Vanity Fair article on the entire dramaturgy turned out to be just a rumor — and the the prodigious filmmaker has basically just brushed the dirt off his shoulders and moved on.
"There have been a couple of times in my career where I’ve been unceremoniously removed from projects. I don’t waste a lot of energy on it," he told the Orlando Sentinel. "It doesn’t get you anywhere. As soon as it became clear that there was no iteration of that movie that I was going to get to direct, I immediately started looking around for something else to do. I have a couple of other things in development that I had hoped to move up, but actor’s schedules wouldn’t allow it. But I have something I can get to after the first of the year, and I’m supposed to do my Liberace movie next summer. So my attitude when something like that happens is, ‘What’s next?’ You can’t dwell on it."Ok, so "Liberace" shooting summer 2010 by the sounds of it? Sounds great to us, but more eye-opening, "Something I can get to after the first of the year?" Is that something new in the works perhaps? It's probably not the Spalding Gray documentary we already heard about (apparently that just needs to be edited), that leaves 1) the ambitious 3D rock musical "Cleo." No, probably not, he mentions that project elsewhere in the interview. 2) the sequel to "The Limey." We've never really heard that expressed from Soderbergh's lips himself so that's questionable. Does this mean an entirely new project? He can run and gun with the best of them.
A recent internet rumor, and nothing more, said Soderbergh could consider the 'Bourne' series if Greengrass passed on it, but that's totally unsubstantiated and you'd be silly if you spun that into a headline. We're mildly hoping he gets roped into Matt Damon's sci-fi romance, "The Adjustment Bureau," but that's wishful thinking. A keen reader reminds us this has already started shooting, so you can nix that dream.
On "Liberace," Soderbergh says he's confident the project will come together, but he says, "We just may have to do it for a REAL price." Damon and Michael Douglas, hopefully you've been squirreling away for your paycut, because we really want this to happen. Like many Soderbergh projects, he also understands the difficulty of getting a project like this — not a Mcfranchise! — off the ground.
"Well, it’s Michael Douglas and Matt (Damon, as Scott Thorson, Liberace’s lover) and the script’s by Richard LaGravenese. It’s a great project all the way round and we’re right in the middle of acquiring the money to make it. It’s a very difficult environment to raise money for a movie like that, because it’s a movie for grownups and it’s about Liberace. So a lot of people look at it and go, ‘Who’s this for?’ "And as much as "Cleo" seems insane for this or any other climate. Soderbergh sounds like he thankfully hasn't given up on it. "'Cleo' is going to be a total party," he said. "I love Guided by Voices [the booze-sozzled indie rockers who are making the music for the film, the script was written by member Jim Greer]. They tend to inspire devotion and I am VERY excited by the idea of more people hearing Robert Pollard’s music. I’m going to do it in 3D, because I think that’s a viable format. You’re going to see more people working in it. You combine a 3D journey into her world, with Robert Pollard’s Guided by Voices music and dancing, it should be great fun."
Hey, we're sold, you just gotta convince someone with a checkbook, but sign us up. The filmmaker's next project, "The Informant," a black comedy starring Matt Damon, opens in theaters on September 18 and will make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and also play the Toronto International Film Festival (it's also on our most anticipated TIFF picks list).