The Playlist reports that Steven Soderbergh, the hardest working man in show business, has once again lengthened his to-do list. Soderbergh will re-team with The Informant! scripter Scott Z. Burns for Contagion, an “action-thriller about the outbreak of a deadly virus.” The film doesn’t have a distribution deal yet, but with such heavy hitters as Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Marion Cotillard attached to star, you can expect a bidding war for the rights. More on the origins of Contagion and the rest of Soderbergh’s slate after the break.
Director Steven Soderbergh won an Academy Award for Best Director for his 2000 ensemble drama Traffic, while also being nominated in the same category that year for Erin Brockovich. Since then, he has juggled box office successes, like Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, with more experimental films, such as Bubble and his latest, The Girlfriend Experience, which are part of his six-picture deal at 2929 Entertainment.
Hiring non-actors and having their dialogue largely improvised, Soderbergh chose to cast popular, award-winning adult film star Sasha Grey in the lead role of Chelsea, a young woman who makes a living as a high-end prostitute, selling a “girlfriend experience” to her clientele. Throughout the low-budget indie, which explores the value we place on money and how we define pleasure, the filmmaker makes intriguing, unusual choices in his camera angles, lighting and scenery.
At the film’s press day, Soderbergh spoke about what compelled him to make The Girlfriend Experience, as well as yet another unusual filmmaking choice to animate a character in his next project, Moneyball (the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget, by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players), which he starts filming in June.
Here’s what he had to say:
The movie world was abuzz when Variety reported in the spring of 2008 that Steven Soderbergh was possibly looking to cast an “adult film actress” in the lead of his low-budget indie, “The Girlfriend Experience.” Those in the know laid their odds on Sasha Grey, an award-winning porn star who’s known for her love of art house movies and noise music as much as her somewhat extreme on-screen performances. And soon enough, the rumors proved right. The title of the movie refers to the type of service Grey’s character offers, a class of high-end prostitution that offers more than just a quickie but instead a true “girlfriend experience,” which can include movie dates, dinner, vacations, and the like. Of course, this comes with a large price tag and blurred lines between what’s real and what’s not so real, something both one of her clients and Sasha’s character experience in the movie. Another interesting twist in “The GfE” is that Grey’s character Chelsea has a live-in boyfriend, Chris, a personal trainer who is also wrestling with self-promotion and success.
I got a chance to chat with Sasha over the phone, and here’s what she had to say about all things Grey.