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


THE FANLISTING
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UPCOMING PROJECTS

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


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


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NEW & UPCOMING DVDS
Now available from Amazon.com:
Haywire
Contagion

Now available from Amazon.co.uk:
Contagion

DVDs that include an audio commentary track from Steven:
Clean, Shaven - Criterion Collection
Point Blank
The Graduate (40th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
The Third Man - Criterion Collection
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


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Partners in Crime
(Play magazine, March 2003)

Since working on Out of Sight, George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh have pooled their resources to make off with the box-office booty, says Charles Grant

It is not surprising that George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh began their mutual appreciation society after making Out of Sight (1998) - after all, the fizzy Elmore Leonard adaptation saved both of their careers.

Clooney had enjoyed some success with the trio of mainstream movies he landed off the back of ER, but none of those titles - One Fine Day (1996), Batman and Robin (1997), The Peacemaker (1997) - established him as a credible leading man.

As for Soderbergh, he was in even bigger trouble: the career cachet of sex, lies & videotape (1989), his first feature length directing job, had been steadily diminished by his five subsequent flops, including such wayward projects as the black-and-white oddity Kafka (1991) and Schizopolis (1996), which he wrote, directed and starred in.

It is possible that, like so many of their peers who have perfected the art of "falling upwards" in Hollywood, Clooney and Soderbergh could have continued on their gravity-defying trajectories, but Out of Sight plotted a better path. The director proved his knack for what he would later call "being a craftsman who’s able to make artful entertainment, doing commercial pieces or genre material in such a way that it doesn’t insult or alienate the audience". The star, at the belated age of 37, was finally confirmed as a proper movie actor.

Clooney went on to do more good work (Three Kings, 1999, and O brother Where Art Thou?, 2000), as well as fame-sustaining summer blockbuster (The Perfect Storm, also 2000), while Soderbergh became a Best Director double threat at the 2001 Oscars with back-to-back hits Erin Brockovich and Traffic. The day after the film-maker accepted a golden statuette for the latter, cameras began rolling on Ocean’s Eleven, the first fruits of the new production company formed with his movie-star soulmate.

"Steven Soderbergh is my favourite director to work with bar none," explained Clooney shortly after the formation of Section Eight. "We work great together, we enjoy each other’s company. We’re friends, and we share a similar taste in material".

Both men have had previous experience as produces: Clooney’s company Maysville had developed a one-off live television drama called Fail Safe (2000), and the Mark Wahlberg film Rock Star (2001); Soderbergh had earned credits on the indie successes The Daytrippers (1996) and Pleasantville (1998). With Section Eight, they have hit the ground running: already the company has created three Soderbergh films (Ocean’s Eleven, the micro-budget flop Full Frontal and then current release Solaris, Clooney’s directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, last year’s thriller Insomnia, starring Al Pacino, the heist comedy Welcome to Collinwood (2002) and the Oscar-nominated Fifties-set melodrama Far From Heaven, starring Julianne Moore. Not bad for a fledgeling outfit.

It is easy to see why the pair hit it off so well. Clonney, 41, hails from Kentucky. Soderbergh, 40, grew up a little further south in Georgia and Louisiana. Both married and divorced actresses. Both are workaholics who put their craft before relationships. They have both taken career risks by standing up to powerful industry figures: Soderbergh took the mega-producer Scott Rudin and studio Paramount to court over control of the movie adaptation of the cult novel The Confederacy of Dunces; a pre-fame Clooney walked out of a number of safe television roles over bullying executive behaviour.

Embarking from wildly differing starting points – highly personal independent movies, and pre-ER mainstream television – they have converged somewhere in the middle, determined to build a legacy of popular quality films.

It is questionable, however, whether their latest efforts will form part of that legacy. Clooney’s directorial debut was released in a prime Oscar-friendly slot last December in America, but has been overshadowed by Adaptation, from the same scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman. The cerebral sci-fi film Solaris, meanwhile, is a disaster for director Soderbergh, star Clooney and studio Fox: ludicrously over-budgeted at $48 million, this artful niche picture has proved a misfit with American mainstream audiences so far.

Last November, the pair were asked by the US magazine Entertainment Weekly what they would do next if both their new films bombed. "Ocean’s Twelve, baby!" replied Clooney. "Put that on the fast track," said Soderbergh. Ocean’s Twelve will start shooting in spring 2004.

 


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