I transcribed the following from the podcast of yesterday's Fresh Air, which featured a Terry Gross interview with Steven Soderbergh. The primary topic of conversation is Behind the Candelabra, but they also discuss his Twitter novel, the fact that he's not "retiring" from movies so much as taking time to think, and perhaps most interestingly, the beginning of his fascination with directing:
TERRY GROSS: When did you first become aware there was such a thing as a "director" and the director had a lot to do with why you liked a movie when you were watching it?
STEVEN SODERBERGH: When I was twelve.
TERRY GROSS: Through watching what?
STEVEN SODERBERGH: Jaws.
TERRY GROSS: Really?
GROSS: Cause of the suspense? Cause of the-- // SODERBERGH: That was the first--
STEVEN SODERBERGH: No, it was just...I-I came out of that film in St. Petersburg, Florida in the summer of 1975, and my relationship to movies had completely changed.
I had always seen a lot of films, 'cause my father loves movies, but they-they...in that two hours and four minutes...they went from something that I used to view as entertainment, and they became something else. I had two questions when I came out of the theater: one, what does "directed by" mean, exactly, and two, who is Steven Spielberg?
And luckily, there was a book that had been published around the time that the movie came out called The Jaws Log, which was written by Carl Gottlieb, one of the co-screenwriters, and it turned out to be one of the best making-of books that anybody has ever produced, and I bought a copy of that and read it over and over again, and highlighted any mention of Steven Spielberg and what that job entailed, and from that pint on, I realized "oh, this is a job. I can have this as a job."