Seeing that Steven Soderbergh has been one of the most prolific and varied American filmmakers for almost three decades now, it was a bit disheartening to hear that he was intending to retire from directing theatrical releases. The man who had giving us star-studded blockbusters (Ocean’s 11), Oscar-nominated dramas (Traffic), and experimental art house films (Kafka) had announced that he was tired of the frustrations he had to work with making studio-based films, and officially announced that 2013’s Side Effects would be his last film. That said, it hasn’t diminished Soderbergh’s output at all, as his “retirement” simply meant he was switching his priorities towards the television landscape. After directing the HBO film Behind the Candleabra, he directed the entire 10-episode debut season of Cinemax’s The Knick, which was very well-received by critics. Now, Soderbergh has announced another made-for-tv film for HBO, and it might be his most experimental project yet.
Soderbergh will be directing Mosaic, which will star Sharon Stone and Garrett Hedlund, and goes into production next month. Little is known about the project in terms of story, but it has been revealed that the movie will be allowing the audience a rather lofty decision: they get to decide how it ends. Soderbergh will direct multiple endings to the film, and viewers will be able to decide how they want it to end by using an app. Quite basically, it would appear that this is Soderbergh’s attempt to bring the concept of a Choose-your-own-adventure novel into the world of filmmaking.
In true Soderbergh fashion, the filmmaker explicated as to why HBO was so eager to get the Mosaic financed: “First, it represents a fresh way of experiencing a story and sharing that experience with others. Second, it will require a new Emmy category, and we will be the only eligible nominee.” He is expected to film the series next month, after he finishes editing the second season of The Knick. Due to his reputation for being a remarkably fast filmmaker, it is hopeful that we’ll see Mosaic premiere in early 2016. If the movie and the app prove successful, then we can expect similar projects to follow, and perhaps even the next television craze.