Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh began a self-imposed sabbatical from the film business starting in January, citing a need to recalibrate and recharge his batteries after a busy career. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the writer and director noted that he was extremely happy with the upcoming HBO film "Behind The Candelabra" as his 'swan song' before his extended break from the industry.
The HBO biopic tells the story of famed pianist Liberace and his tumultuous six year relationship with Scott Thorson. The director expresses pride in the film, seeing it as not only a successful film, but one that reflects on his own career. "I think people are gonna be surprised at how intimate it is, and that there's no attempt to make fun of them or to characterize, to make them seem like cartoons," he said. "Halfway through the movie, it's just a relationship, and that Michael [Douglas] and Matt [Damon] -- I can only describe it as a Thelma & Louise thing: they just grabbed hands and jumped off the cliff. Like I said, it's so intimate and they're so not shy that I think that's the heart of the piece, and I'm really happy for both of them."
While he leaves the door open for a future return to filmmaking, Soderbergh again insisted that the Liberace film would be a fine way to cap off a storied career. "Honestly, I mean, if I can figure out a new way to come at what I do, then I'll come back and do it. But if I didn't -- if I failed at doing that and felt like, 'I don't know how to do this in a way that's different than I've done before' -- and this was the last thing anybody ever saw, I would be thrilled because what it's about is totally connected to how I started. It's still, at the end of the day, two people in a room, and there's just a lot of rhinestone in it."
Despite taking a break from his primary career, it doesn't sound like the "Ocean's Eleven" director will be resting on his laurels. "There's gonna be some theater stuff, there's gonna be probably some TV stuff, there's gonna be one book at least, there's gonna be some painting, there's gonna be some photography. There's gonna be a liquor that I'm importing from Bolivia," the director explained.
"Behind the Candelabra" stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, and will premiere on May 26 on HBO.