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Steven Soderbergh Announces Retirement Again, Sort Of

The Contagion director takes up painting as George Clooney drops out of his Man from U.N.C.L.E. remake.

Here we go again: Steven Soderbergh announcing his retirement is becoming as commonplace – and as tiresome – as news of Lindsey Lohan's legal woes. But Hollywood Reporter is declaring his intentions yet again, about six months after Soderbergh originally announced that he is retiring, two months after Soderbergh announced that he isn't retiring, and the exact same day that George Clooney dropped out The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Soderbergh's upcoming remake of the classic spy series.

But.

Did he really say he's retiring? If you read the New York Times interview that Hollywood Reporter got their news from, you'll notice that at no point does he ever say "I am retiring from filmmaking," or indeed any variation on that phrase. The author of the article only states that Soderbergh had "already announced his imminent retirement from directing," which indeed he had… before retracting it publicly. All Soderbergh himself says in the interview is, in regards to his paintings, "I’m interested in exploring another art form while I have the time and ability to do so [...] I’ll be the first person to say if I can’t be any good at it and run out of money I’ll be back making another ‘Ocean’s’ movie."

While that statement might gel with news of his retirement, it doesn't contradict it either. There's no particularly good reason to interpret that statement as anything other than "Steven Soderbergh is taking up painting." There's no reason why he can't do both. He already apparently has several paintings finished, according to the interview, and obviously he made those while balancing productions of Contagion, Haywire and God knows how many of his previous projects.

As for Man from U.N.C.L.E., Deadline reports that George Clooney is currently departing the project, leaving its future unclear. But Sodbergh stills has Magic Mike and a Liberace biopic currently in pre-production, so it's not like the Oscar-winning director of Traffic won't be behind the camera any time soon.

Then again if Soderbergh really is retiring, then it's not much of a shock. Nor will his eventual retraction, if it comes again.

CraveOnline will return with more news of Steven Soderbergh's retirement, because it ain't going away anytime soon apparently…