Steven Soderbergh talks Magic Mike, The Bitter Pill and Liberace

Steven Soderbergh is currently whipping cinema audiences into a frenzy with Magic Mike , his male stripper drama based loosely on the real-life experiences of Channing Tatum.

In the brand new issue of Total Film magazine (out now, in case you were wondering), we chat at length to Soderbergh in the TF interview, covering the Oscar-winner’s career from Cannes-wowing wunderkind, through the wilderness years that followed before the diversity of mainstream hits and leftfield experiments that have followed since.

Soderbergh speaks at length about his future projects, including, of course, Magic Mike (in UK cinemas this month). When we asked how much of the movie was based on Channing’s real life, Soderbergh told us, “He was 19 when he spent – I think it was maybe a year – doing that. He was sort of loosely mentored by one of the other guys.

“But that was the basic framework that we jumped off. I don’t think he felt so attached to the real experience that we had to adhere to what happened. I just like the world of it, that it felt like I hadn’t seen it before. So I kinda viewed it as potentially an open movie. We just created the characters from there.

“And that loosened things up even more and allowed us to treat it as a piece of original material. I think in his mind, it freed him up a lot as an actor.”

On the secrecy surrounding his next film, The Bitter Pill (in which Rooney Mara’s character becomes involved in a pharmaceutical trial), he spoke about the difficulty of keeping the story secret. “Should we not preview the movie? This is a discussion that’s going on internally about how we keep some of these story points a secret.”

When we asked if we should expect a lot of shocks and twists from that film, he responded, “Yeah. Stuff you’d expect from this genre. But nowadays it’s really hard to keep quiet.”

On what drew him to Liberace , Soderbergh explained: “I just thought he was an interesting figure. He’s the first of the single-named, flamboyant entertainers. If you don’t have him, I don’t think you have Elton John, I don’t think you have Cher, I don’t think you have Madonna. I really feel like he was the first of those.

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The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.