Contagion, Liberace, and U.N.C.L.E. with Clooney– apparently that’s all writer/director Steven Soderbergh has left for us.

He’s said it before, but the impending early retirement of Steven Soderbergh from filmmaking is drawing closer and if Matt Damon’s comments are any indication, he’s shown no signs of chaining his plans. Speaking with 24 Frames Matt Damon, one of Soderbergh’s most frequent collaborators, said that there is little left in cinema for the director, and he wants to move on.  

“He wants to paint and he says he’s still young enough to have another career. He’s kind of exhausted with everything that interested him in terms of form. He’s not interested in telling stories. Cinema interested him in terms of form and that’s it. He says, ‘If I see another over-the-shoulder shot, I’m going to blow my brains out.’ “

He then goes on to list the aforementioned projects as the last he’s really looking at doing. Contagion is underway in Chicago and is Soerbergh’s “multi-story film about a viral epidemic,” the expanding cast of which we covered earlier in the year. Liberace is the biopic he’s planned on doing with Michael Douglas for many years- the outlook of the project has improved along with Michael Douglas’ health. Finally the spy TV show adaptation The Man from U.N.C.L.E. would be the director’s final film, and his final collaboration with George Clooney.

Matt Damon is pretty forthcoming about his frustration with director leaving the movie business, and cites Clint Eastwood as an example of directors working well into their dinosaur years.

“After I worked with Clint, I went back and said, ‘Look, Clint is having a blast and he’s going to be 80 years old.’ And Steven says back, ‘Yeah, but he’s a storyteller and I’m not.’”

Sounds like Soderbergh, and sounds like a guy who might retire when he says he will.

Soderbergh isn’t the only name director who is dedicated to a deadline for fucking out of the movie business. A lot of these guys have a way of “one more”-ing their way to a much longer career than expected though. Even if Soderbergh legitimately quits, the right idea could always bring him back, be it 5, 10, or 20 years down the line (I feel that applies to Kevin Smith too). And at the end of the day, you never know when a bill is going to sneak up on you.

That said, if you enjoy Soderbergh’s work and enjoy following his projects and anticipating his releases, I’d suggest you savor the next couple of years…