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netribution > features > interview with steven soderbergh > page two

You’ve just finished working with Julia Roberts (on Erin Brockovich). How different is it to work with major stars like her or George Clooney?
Well, we worked together really well… But you’ve got to understand, when you’re that big there are a huge number of pressures. She knows that the only reason that the film is getting made, or at least getting made with such a big budget, is because she is in it. If it fails, if several fail in a row, then her career could be fucked. What’s more, people expect a certain type of movie from you, they expect you to look a certain way in each shot. I can understand why she would insist on her own make up people, hair people and so on. There are always so many expectations laid upon her.

Do you think there are any common themes or ideas running through your work?
That’s for people like yourself to decide and I hope that you’ve got better things to do.

You won the Palme D’Or for Sex Lies and Videotape, while Out of Sight was very well received. How important is critical acclaim to you?
It’s a business thing to me. If I get slagged off in the LA Times or the New York Times I know it’s going to be tough because the audience reads that.

Is it true you’re working on a sequel to Schizopolis?
The Son of Schizopolis? I’ve got a few ideas, yeah. I just thought it would be great to take a film that no-one’s seen and make a sequel to it.

Having kick-started the US indie scene with Sex Lies and Videotape, how do you see it continuing today?
My heart goes out to new indie filmmakers because it’s harder than when I cropped up. Sex Lies only got made because it was commercially viable, let’s be honest.

You recently spoke out against going to film school.
I received a a collection of films made by one the main LA film schools and was stunned by how pedestrian and formulaic they were. It was depressing. There was no imagination, personality, originality. They felt second hand, like something run through a committee. Any aspiring film makers should take the money they would have paid to go to film school and go and make a film. People with real talent are going to emerge in one way or another.

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