Soderbergh Says His Spalding Gray Documentary is Finished
by Alex Billington
September 12, 2009
I just finished an interview with Steven Soderbergh, one of my personal favorite directors, up in Toronto today. It's a fascinating interview that covers The Informant and his directing career, but at the end I asked him for a brief update on all of his projects in the works, since he has quite a few. I asked him for an update on the Spalding Gray documentary he's been working on and the good news is that it's ready to go. "Yea, I just finished it," Soderbergh said. "Yea, we're going to go to Slamdance [with it]." Gray, for those who don't know, is a writer and actor best known for his monologues, like the one seen in Swimming to Cambodia.
"Yea, I'm happy with it, it took a long time. That was another example where… It sort of, for a while, was really defined by what I didn't want it to be like. Because I've never really made a documentary before and I didn't want it to be like other documentaries, and so there was a lot of trial and error about what form it should take, and now I'm really happy with it. We made a very specific choice about how to do it, and we really stuck with it, I think. I think it was a good choice and I think it's very organic to who he is, but it's not typical, and I'm really curious to see how people are going to respond."
When I asked for additional details, Soderbergh revealed that, "It's a new monologue in a way. It's just him." Given that Gray sadly committed suicide in 2004, it's exciting to know that we'll get to, in essence, see him do one more monologue. "There's footage from throughout his life, but he's the only voice in it. I didn't interview anybody or get any new footage. So once I decided that's what we were going to do, we were able to focus on it," Soderbergh said. "It doesn't feel like a normal documentary." I love that he's experimenting with a documentary just like feature films and being a fan of Gray, I'm already excited to see this next year.
We'll be updating Soderbergh's other upcoming projects in the next few days and posting the interview later this week, so stay tuned for those. This already makes me excited for Sundance/Slamdance next year, as I'm both a Steven Soderbergh and Spalding Gray fan, and will definitely be interested in checking this doc out.