Steven Soderbergh Retiring From Filmmaking

Director Steven Soderbergh arrives at a photocall for the film The Informant! during the 35th American Film Festival of Deauville in Deauville, France on September 9, 2009. UPI/David Silpa

Steven Soderbergh, 48, has confirmed to The New York Times that he plans to retire from moviemaking to focus on his painting.

The director of "Erin Brockovich," "Traffic," and the "Ocean's Eleven" franchise told the Times, "I'm interested in exploring another art form while I have the time and ability to do so. I'll be the first person to say if I can't be any good at it and run out of money I'll be back making another 'Ocean's' movie."

Soderbergh has hardly slowed down lately. His newest film, "Contagion," out Sept. 9, imagines a worldwide outbreak of a deadly flulike virus, and stars Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow. But speaking in his painting studio in Manhattan's Flatiron district, he described his filmmaking ennui.

"It's just a sense of having been there before," Soderbergh told Studio 360's Kurt Andersen in March. "And when I started feeling like I've done this shot before, I've dpne a scene that’s about this before, that's when I started thinking seriously about a shift. But also I don't want to leave you know, when you see those athletes hang on one or two seasons too long, it's kind of sad."

Before he retires, however, Soderbergh said he still has three more films to make--"Magic Mike," starring Channing Tatum as a male stripper, 1960s TV update "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," and a Liberace biopic starring Matt Damon. He's already completed work on the action film "Haywire," to be released in January.

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