“I’ve got a big one for you. This is a big one.” When Steven Soderbergh, prolific filmmaker of such classics as Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean’s Eleven tells you a “big one” is coming, you pay attention and listen. And Soderbergh did not disappoint. On today’s episode of Flaviar’s NightCap Live, he revealed he’s written a sequel to his 1989 breakthrough film Sex, Lies, and Videotape. And he wants to make it.
Host Dan Dunn asked Soderbergh (there to promote Singani 63, his personal brand of brandy) how he’s been keeping busy and creative during the coronavirus lockdown. And Soderbergh responded with not just his updates, but some wonderful advice for aspiring writers and filmmakers out there:
During the lockdown, I’ve done more sustained writing than I’ve done since the summer of 1985. And it’s worth noting that I never considered myself a writer. I wrote as a way to get into the business, because nobody can stop you from sitting down in front of a keyboard and writing. I grew up in a suburban subdivision in Baton Rouge, I had no connections to the film industry at all, and I just felt if I write, I may write something that somebody sees and reads and wants to make. So when the lockdown happened here in New York, in order to stay organized and sane, I decided I’m gonna write. I’ve gotta go back to writing. So within the first 6 or 7 weeks of the lockdown, I finished 3 screenplays. One of them was a rewrite, one of them was an original, and one was an adaptation of a novel that I’ve been wanting to do. The original was a sequel to sex lies and videotape. It was an idea that had been circling for awhile, and I felt like I came up with the way to get back in, and so I wrote it, and I wanna make it.
Soderbergh didn’t elaborate on the plot details of the sequel, nor how long the idea’s been circling. It’s worth noting that his 2002 film Full Frontal was considered a spiritual sequel, though it features none of the original cast or characters from Sex, Lies, and Videotape. The original film was Soderbergh’s breakthrough film, putting him on the map as a filmmaker worth noticing. It premiered at Cannes in 1989, winning that festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. Soderbergh was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (and he calls himself not a writer), and the film wound up being preserved in the Library of Congress. If you’re a fan of Soderbergh’s and haven’t seen this one, check it out ASAP.
It stars James Spader as a young man who videotapes women about their sex lives, and the complications the tapes cause on these women’s lives. In our day and age of everyone having personal video cameras in their computers and phones, sexually intimate footage being shared at a remarkable rate, and the difficulty of keeping anything a secret, I have to imagine Soderbergh has struck fertile ground in his new screenplay’s explorations. The question thus remains: Will Soderbergh stick with the original cast (also including Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, and Laura San Giacomo), or craft another spiritual successor with an all-new crew of performers, a la Full Frontal?