George Clooney is a big fat movie star with burnished matinee-idol good looks and rakish charm. Steven Soderbergh is one of those thoughtful, baseball-capped auteurs who wear thick black glasses and serious expressions. But get them together in a room to talk about their creative and business partnership, as Entertainment Weekly did recently, and both men reveal themselves to be gabby cinephiles – whether they’re ardently debating Quentin Tarantino’s decision to take five years between films or divulging their must-see movies of the holiday season. ”Of course, I think ‘Far From Heaven’ is the best film I’ve seen this year,” says the 41-year-old Clooney. ”But I’m biased.” Soderbergh, 39, agrees. ”Yes,” he says with a smirk. ”We ARE biased.”
Humble, too. Or at least polite. For in choosing to plug their latest producing effort, Focus’ ”Far From Heaven” – a revisionist homage to the 1950s melodramas of Douglas Sirk, directed by Todd Haynes (”Safe,” ”Velvet Goldmine”) and starring Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid – they are neglecting two other films: Fox’s ”Solaris,” a $47 million sci-fi opus directed by Soderbergh and starring Clooney, opening Nov. 27; and Miramax’s ”Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” a loopy biopic about ”Gong Show” creator Chuck Barris written by Charlie Kaufman (who also penned December’s equally loopy ”Adaptation”) and directed by Clooney himself, opening Dec. 27.
The two sat with EW to talk about their upcoming projects.