Steven Soderbergh’s retirement from filmmaking has been tough to swallow for many reasons, not the least of which because he was so damn prolific over the past few years with some fascinating, challenging, and wildly different films. He hasn’t given up directing entirely as he recently helmed all 10 episodes of the upcoming Cinemax series The Knick, but he remains steadfast in his decision to steer clear of moviemaking—even when it comes to the highly anticipated Magic Mike sequel. Warner Bros. has already dated the follow-up—tentatively titled Magic Mike XXL—for next summer and Channing Tatum is hopeful that the entire cast will return, but it will be Tatum’s producing partner Gregory Jacobs in the director’s chair this time around instead of Soderbergh.
However, we now have confirmation that Soderbergh won’t simply be tangentially involved with Magic Mike 2. He will resume his duties as cinematographer, camera operator, and editor on the sequel. Hit the jump for more, including Soderbergh’s thoughts on returning in this capacity.
As part of a lengthy profile on Tatum in GQ, Soderbergh confirms that he will act as the director of photography, camera operator, and film editor on Magic Mike 2. One imagines that might make for an uncomfortable situation for Jacobs, as the guy who not only directed the first film but is also one of the most respected filmmakers working today will be operating his camera, but Soderbergh is unwavering in his decision:
“I want to be there, but I don’t want to be the director,” Soderbergh explains. “I want to be a part of it. I want to be in the band, but I just don’t want to be the frontman this time.”
For his part, Tatum says he tried hard to convince Soderbergh not to retire:
“It’s super complicated, in my opinion, why he wanted to stop doing film. I lobbied probably harder than anybody else—we had many, many nights of heated debate. I was, ‘I don’t fucking get it! Why?’ And he’s like, ‘I don’t need it.’ “
I’d honestly be quite surprised if Behind the Candelabra turns out to be Soderbergh’s final feature film as a director, and as evidenced by his work on The Knick and self-imposed “demotion” on Magic Mike 2, he’s not keen on leaving the business entirely. For now, though, it’s encouraging to know that Magic Mike 2 will have that same Soderbergh-led cinematography and editing, and he’ll likely be an invaluable asset for first-time director Jacobs. Magic Mike 2 opens in theaters on July 3, 2015.