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8th February: Side Effects released (US)
15th March: Side Effects released (UK)


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SIDE EFFECTS
Information | Photos | Official website Released: 8th February (US)


BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
Information | Photos | Official website Released: 2013


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Clean, Shaven - Criterion Collection
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Oscar winner tackles fame head-on in Full Frontal
by Stephen Schaefer
(Boston Herald, July 31, 2002)

After three consecutive hits and a Best Director Oscar for Traffic, Steven Soderbergh wanted to have some fun. The result is the star-studded but low-budget Full Frontal, which opens Friday.

This quirky ensemble piece boasts a Soderbergh reunion with his Erin Brockovich and Ocean's Eleven leading lady Julia Roberts, as well as a cameo by Ocean's Eleven star Brad Pitt. Roberts plays Francesca, a movie star making a movie, and among her cast mates are Blair Underwood as an actor, David Duchovny as a hotshot producer and David Hyde Pierce and Catherine Keener as a couple whose marriage is on the rocks.

Employing a bare-bones crew, Soderbergh filmed Full Frontal mostly in Los Angeles in just 18 days under a no-frills set of rules: "You will drive yourself to the set''; "You will pick, provide and maintain your own wardrobe''; "Improvisation will be encouraged.'' Yes, it sounds like Dogma 95, the influential Danish decree whose purpose as stated by director Lars von Trier and others is to "cleanse'' movies of creative impurities. But nowhere in the extensive Full Frontal production notes is Dogma mentioned.

"Back when they started that, I was in production on Schizopolis, which was my own way of saying to myself: You need to change the way you're working,'' said Soderbergh in his Manhattan loft where he is in post-production on his George Clooney Christmas release Solaris' "Having seen Lars von Trier's films he made before the Dogma idea occurred to him and his cohorts, I understand the impulse completely - to strip away the things you think are extraneous and don't interest you, which is namely the circus and logistics that go with a normal production.

"I had a desire to go back and have another experience similar with Schizopolis but with a piece of material that's more coherent. When Ocean's Eleven came up, I thought to have those experiences back to back would be healthy. This was always conceived to follow Ocean's Eleven immediately and we finished shooting it before Ocean's Eleven came out (last December). I thought if you needed to do one, you needed the other.''

Soderbergh would be the first to say that what makes the film so different - the 10 rules, the quick filming pace - should be irrelevant to the moviegoer. "I don't know what they need to know necessarily,'' he said. "Our intention was for it to be funny; that was really it. It's not an obscure movie; it's just a little odd, I guess. It was an opportunity to play. You make a movie for this kind of money, it's $2 million, you can go play.''

Part of the "play'' for Soderbergh is playing with people's expectations. Duchovny, with first billing, has one scene and is gone. "That you can afford to do if you're making a small movie,'' Soderbergh said. He's known Duchovny since the two met when he was casting sex, lies and videotape, his breakthrough 1989 hit. "We sort of run into each other and stay in touch,'' he said.

Roberts has several moments in Full Frontal that seem to meld her screen character and the "real'' actress.

"That's what's fun - that's all part of the goof,'' Soderbergh said. "It's playing into what Julia is like and what Julia's life is like and that was for us interesting to explore. She's fully aware people think she's a certain way and it was kind of fun to goof on that: The diva who doesn't think she's a diva and doesn't want people to think she's a diva. When you work with her she's as easy as it comes; she likes the social aspect of making a movie, which is not a description of the character she plays.''

One rule required each actor to be interviewed in character by Soderbergh who used those interviews as voice-overs in the film. Soderbergh feels Roberts' improvised interview was particularly interesting.

"It's 45 minutes of stuff and was fascinating to watch her combine (truth and fiction) and answer,'' he said. "Some answers I could say, 'I know that's not true.' She went on this whole thing how much she loves L.A., with incredible details about the palm trees and parrots and I know if she'd had her druthers, she'd be hanging out in New Mexico. Other questions she went maybe 99 degrees off course. Who knows? . . . I said to Julia, 'Francesca, since you won the Academy Award do you think other actors behave differently?' She just stopped and looked at me with this weird reaction and said, `I have no idea who I am right now.' It was like her head was going to split.''

 


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